Cyber Threat through USB drives still persistent

    All those who are concerned about IT security of their business, should not only invest in efficient antivirus software, firewalls, and regular system updates but should also beware that their systems are also prone to malicious attacks that enter through everyday devices called supply chain attacks.

    On doing retrospection, here’s an instance which could stand as a classic example to define the above-said situation.

    On Friday, October 24th of 2018 Richard C Schaeffer Junior, the NSA’s top computer systems protection officer was interacting with the then US President George W Bush when a colleague of him passed a note that some of the critical systems in the white house were hacked.

    On inquiry, the attack was said to have been carried out through an infected USB drive plugged into one of the military servers. Immediately, the US military moved to ban USB drives usage in the field. And a couple of years later, the use of USB drives was banned in all Fed agencies by the US government.

    Some years later, US military in a secret operation used the same tactic to disrupt Iran’s nuclear weapons program through a worm attack dubbed Stuxnet. The attack got into the media limelight which made most of the corporate companies operating around the globe to ban the usage of USB sticks in their IT environments.

    •    Thus, the only way to isolate your company’s IT assets from such cyber threats is to follow basic cyber hygiene processes that help keep your business free from any kind of malware.
    •    Always install good Anti-virus software and run it in a protective mode.
    •    Keep a tab on who is on your network, what they are for, how many devices are accessing the network and other such details.
    •    Segregate your networks as maintaining separate networks for everyday visitors, staff and clients will surely positively in your favor.
    •    Keep all your systems patched up with the latest updates
    •    If possible ban the usage of USB ports in your IT environment and better switch to cloud
    •    Maximize your cyber resilience strategies by educating your employees on what is happening in the cyber landscape as it helps them from falling prey to supply chain attacks.

    Note- Though, the usage of USB drives in organizations is claimed to have become extinct, world-renowned flash maker SanDisk- now a business unit of Western Digital from 2016; claims that over 4.3 million USB drives are still being used in over 73,165 organizations around the world… that’s interesting!

    Naveen Goud
    Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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