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The dangers of USB drives. – By Farhad Manjoo – Slate Magazine

I’d heard the story years ago of a group that ran an infection test to prove a point. They put their benign virus on a bunch of branded USB sticks, put them in a fishbowl, walked into the target company and asked the receptionist if they could leave it there for people “as part of a promotional campaign.” They got over three-quarters of the computers in the office.

The dangers of USB drives. – By Farhad Manjoo – Slate Magazine

If a company wants to ratchet up security, it’s not as simple as banning all thumb drives. To be extra careful, you’d have to ban iPods, cameras, and every other USB-based doohickey—all of those devices are capable of carrying Stuxnet-like viruses, too. I asked Sean Sullivan, of F-Secure, if he could imagine any failsafe IT policy that would have worked to thwart Stuxnet. “Well, in our malware test machines, sometimes we put glue in the USB ports,” he joked.

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2 Comments

  1. It’s been about 18 months since IT put the smack down on people charging their iPods/using thumb drives/etc in our work computers. We had one too many virus problems and now we’re not allowed to plug ANYTHING in that isn’t provided by work.

    It really sucked for me, since I had an iPod that wouldn’t hold a charge at the time.

  2. If you run Linux, keep your system up to date, and don’t run as root, you shouldn’t have a problem sharing USB devices.

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