Despite being very useful, removable media can carry many risks. Since USB ports can be the main weaknesses of a system. Thus, devices such as USB sticks, memory cards, and external hard drives can be a threat to organizations.
Understand a little more about the problems these devices can cause and how to avoid them.
What are the risks?
By connecting an infected device to your computer, you may be opening all doors in your home and organization to criminals. But how do they work, and what are the risks you may be exposed to?
Information that can be lost
Remember that all work-related files are company property. Therefore, when we archive corporate data without any kind of encryption or password, we can allow anyone to access this information if it is lost or stolen.
In addition to storing files, these devices can also hold programs, including malicious software such as viruses. So when you plug removable media into a computer, these programs can run automatically, infecting the machine and even all systems.
Since this type of program has gained direct access to a corporate computer, it can bypass security solutions unnoticed. In this way they can keep collecting and encrypting information, allowing criminals to operate attacks when the time is right.
These removable media can also be used to steal credentials. To do this, criminals install programs that store and share this type of data. Once inserted, this device can monitor someone's typed information, such as passwords.
How you can protect your removable media
Since the responsibility for the risks and impacts that can be caused by this type of device lies with the people who use them, great care must be taken whenever you choose to use removable media, as it may contain viruses or malicious software.
If the organization authorizes the use of these devices, it is essential to follow these tips to avoid problems.
Use passwords and encryption
Using passwords and encryption methods is one way to protect information in case of loss or theft of removable media. There are some tools available to add this layer of security to your devices.
Avoid using unknown devices
We have already mentioned that USB ports can be the best way in for viruses and malicious software, since security tools may not identify these threats.
So avoid connecting any unfamiliar device to a computer you use, whether it is a personal or corporate computer. But as a last resort, you can test the equipment in a controlled environment before it is used on other computers.
It is also important to avoid plugging removable media into unfamiliar computers. This is because they may contain malicious software or viruses that can infiltrate these media and contaminate your personal and corporate devices.
Disable automatic program startup
The ability to run a program as soon as a device is connected can make life much easier for a criminal. To protect yourself, it is very important to disable the automatic startup of programs.
In this way, people can be trained to activate the programs present on removable media manually by opening the device folder and clicking on the program icon.
Activate and update security tools
It is essential that organizations adopt tools such as firewalls and antivirus to protect themselves from these threats. In addition, it is also important to keep operating systems and devices up to date, as well as virus definitions.
You should also scan removable media to verify that it is free of malicious software and viruses. This can be done every time this device is used by someone else, or you receive it from someone. To do this you can right-click on the device icon and scan it with antivirus software.
Monitor information traffic
In addition to all these strategies to reduce risk, organizations can choose to monitor data traffic between corporate equipment and removable media. In this way, it is possible to have control in critical cases, such as cyber incidents and attacks, or the violation of some internal policy.
Since we are talking about threats that occur when people connect insecure removable media, it is very important that they are aware of these risks.
They must be trained constantly to understand the dangers that unreliable devices can bring to the organization.
People should also be informed about the need to use secure environments to test whether devices are free of threats. If they are not allowed to use this type of feature, the policies should be clear and well disseminated.
Act more secure and create a culture of digital protection
There is no denying that removable media devices such as flash drives and memory cards have brought great convenience. The ability to store a large amount of data within a small physical space has made life easier for many people. Anyone who has lived through the days of CDs and floppy disks knows what we are talking about.
But this equipment can cause a lot of headaches for organizations. Just plug an infected flash drive into a corporate computer to compromise the entire system. Therefore, some care is very important when using this type of media.
Avoid connecting unknown devices to personal and corporate computers. Also, always keep your firewall and antivirus software up to date, as well as the operating system of the device.
To prevent loss of important data it is best to use tools to set passwords and encrypt data on these removable media. With these steps you can now be much more secure.
Want to know how PhishX can help you create a digital security culture? Talk to our sales team.