What are the risks that I can avoid with removable media?

Which risk is associated with removable media?

 In recent months, leading IT company IBM has banned all its personnel from using removable storage devices due to potential financial and reputational damage caused by misplacements, loss, or misuse of portable removable storage devices. At first glance, a harmless mobile multimedia device can provoke a massive cyberattack, even if the target computer system is isolated and protected from the outside.   

Malware can spread via removable media, and it is risky to use such media if the source cannot be identified. Once the USB stick is inserted into the computer, it can either use autorun to launch malicious functions or trick the target into launching it using a tempting file name.    

Another security risk when using removable media is the transfer of malware from one device to another. Attackers can install malware onto USB drives and allow naive users to find and use them. 

An attacker often leaves a malware-infected device, such as a USB drive, in a crowded area where it can be found. The criminal would then rely on human curiosity to complete the fraud, and once the device connects to the system, it infects the entire network with malware.   

Attackers usually use social engineering to convince someone to insert a multimedia device into a computer, for example, by leaving an infected disk in an occupied space, from where someone can take the design and enter it into their computer to find its contents. 

The attack is known as bullying. In addition to introducing a virus onto a network, hackers use USB devices (flash drives) to inject other malware into the network that could allow an attacker to gain a foothold on the web. USB drives are handy for stealing data as they can bypass the network altogether (if the USB port is physically recovered by an attacker).   

The use of these devices will increase the risk of data loss, data disclosure, and the likelihood of network attacks. The integrity of the data on your removable media, such as memory cards or external hard drives, is potentially compromised every time you plug it into your computer if that computer is infected. 

Plus, even if you encrypt your removable storage devices, you won’t be able to recover your lost files after losing your USB drive or another device. In fact, whenever you allow an employee to use a USB drive or other small storage device, your organization’s critical or confidential information could fall into the wrong hands.    

USB flash drives are the standard popular removable media today, and as their usage increases, the associated risks also increase. Although these devices are helpful, they can also be quickly armed by attackers and pose a significant cyber threat to the organization. 

However, the same ease of use and convenience are part of the problem of removable media because malware and viruses can easily be copied and spread to unprotected, non-write-protected removable storage devices. The organization has a policy requiring employees to report lost devices when they are lost and ensure that any new removable media can be safely closed to prevent risks. 

Informing employees of the potential network security risks of removable media and avoiding connecting untrusted devices to your computer can help significantly reduce the potential threats they pose to your business. Training security personnel is one of the most effective ways to protect themselves from cyber threats by teaching them not to insert untrusted removable media into their computer; if employees need to insert flash drives, the organization should make an Appropriate process to handle this situation.

Employees should be aware of this process and advised to bring any untrusted removable media to the IT department for verification before trusting or using them. To prevent malware attacks, ensure that antivirus and antivirus software is installed, running, and regularly updated on all connected machines to stop attacks and provide a level of data protection when using removable media and connecting a USB drive to the computer, it is essential to ensure that it does not include autorun features. These functions automatically launch all programs installed on the media or device.    

Memory cards Popular consumer devices such as cell phones and portable MP3 or video players often contain internal flash memory in the form of memory cards. These media types include flash media (such as USB drives, memory cards, and flash drives), external hard drives, optical drives, and external music players (such as iPods). 

Removable media is a portable device, such as a USB storage device connected to a computer, network, or computer system to transfer and store data. It can also include mobile devices and digital cameras because both can be connected to a computer for data transfer.  

Some devices and software applications encrypt the data on your device or media, providing an additional coat of security if your equipment is lost or stolen.

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