The USB mass storage is a set of computing communications protocols defined by the Implementer Forum that makes a device accessible to a host computing device and enables file transfers between the host and the device.USB Security should be maintained through various methods.
However, according to a recent study, these drives could prove to be vulnerable to your devices.
However, the overwhelming rise in the use of such devices has also raised the incidents regarding privacy. Whereas, the data transfer contains some extreme security risks without being able to judge the vulnerability before a potential destruction.
What is the risk in USB?
According to some researchers, the flaws could impact on a device are the day to day computing. This could be an extreme judgment, however, these could at least bring a suspect to the efficiency and trustworthiness of the routine devices we insert to our PCs such as keyboards, flash drives, external hard drives, and mouse. We’re focusing on the various security risks that can occur.
Major security incidents, viruses, and specific malware are among the risks you face. While these can be mitigated by adopting good practices, it’s important to appreciate just what is at stake if you don’t take steps to secure your USB flash drive.
Perhaps the most well-known security risks concerning USB flash devices are those that occur when a device is lost.
If you have password protected or better still, encrypted your USB flash device, then you should not be overly concerned when you lose it. Assuming you’ve still got the data backed up elsewhere, you’ll be fine.
Thumb drives or other USB peripherals can be reprogrammed to steal any data written into the drive. Through such methods the USB is used to transmit the firmware-modifying code to the device it is inserted.
5 ways your USB can be a security risk
- Finding a USB Flash Drive
While some anti-virus software can protect autorun malware from infecting your PC from a USB flash device, this might not work if your system is not up-to-date. So, if you find a USB flash drive, leave it alone, or put it in the bin
- Giving a USB stick to the friend
Several methods are available for securely wiping flash-based media, but note that each read/write cycle will age the disk. As such, it’s best to simply wipe-and-bin older drives, as they might not last that long in the hands of their new owner.
- USB Specific Malware
Created by security researchers who kept the source code to themselves, Bad USB is nevertheless a good demonstration to hackers. Stored on the firmware of USB devices (which includes keyboards and phones as well as flash drives), it is virtually undetectable and can result in a targeted PC being hijacked.
Bad USB proof of concept shows that an infected USB device could be used to target an individual.
- Know Your USB Stick
Safe storage of your USB flash device is vital, but so is recognition. Security and privacy can be breached in an embarrassing manner if you pass a USB stick to a colleague that turns out to have some salacious images of your partner stored on it.
- Losing USB Stick
The simple way to avoid losing a USB stick is to make sure it is stored securely on your person. Perhaps an inside pocket or somewhere it cannot be seen. It should also be placed where it will not be damaged, as excessive shock or pressure can break or corrupt the data.
Unfortunately, the malware presence is noticed when there are many symptoms.
A USB could act maliciously in three ways
- A device could falsely act as a keyboard and issues its own commands to the control system for a malicious act such as to install malware or to steal files.
- Another way it could be damaging is when the USB device pretends to be a network card. Eventually, it changes the computer’s “Domain name system” and directs you to insert a URL for a website to secretly redirect your traffic.
- These external hard disks or thumb drive could infect the computers more when they intervene at the boot stage prior than the action of antivirus.
What could be done to minimize USB threats?
Either you are connecting a drive to your personal PC or into a device of your organization; certain precautions could help you to evade the potential threats. There are some practices for the individuals to secure their devices from USB virus and vulnerabilities.
- Encrypt Your Flash Drive
Encryption is one of the most effective methods to protect your data, no matter on which device you are using it. Strong encryption protocol such as AES 128/256 bit would be the best for data safety and flash drive protection.
- Install the Antivirus
Install antivirus software that is purposed to scan the device which is inserted into your device through a port. Often, people don’t care about the efficiency of an antivirus and keep going with a secured status perception.
- Change the Settings of Your System
The features such as Autoplay and Autorun should be disabled from the settings. This is because these features automatically run USB devices when they are inserted into the port of a device.
However, you can also protect your device through the password. Using a device like USB has both values as well as risks; however, you could minimize the chances of vulnerability with certain intelligent measures.