The Most Overlooked Security Threat

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By Jennifer Adams

When thinking of ways hackers can infiltrate your system, what first comes to mind? Phishing emails and suspicious looking pop-ups are commonly known ways to infect your devices with malware. A frequently overlooked cybersecurity vulnerability is your removeable media. CD’s, DVD’s, flash drives… Just think, how important is the information stored there? These are the risks associated with removeable media and how to manage them.

Data Security-

Human error is responsible for 95% of cyber security breaches. Removeable media can be weaponized in a variety of ways, ranging from being misplaced, destroyed, stolen, or manipulated to destroy your computer.

USBs are designed with two input channels, one for data flow and the other for power. These are carefully designed so there can be no accidental cross flow. However, with a smoldering iron, someone who knows how can quickly modify a flash drive so the two channels cross over, likely destroying the computer.   

Although they give employees the ability to copy sensitive company information and take it with them anywhere, USB’s can get lost easily. How would it impact your business if this happened? What if a disgruntled employee decides to copy your data and leak it?

This is why XETX recommends backing your data up to the cloud rather than backing up your information to a flash drive, because it can still be accessed anytime, from anywhere but only by authorized employees who have the login credentials.

Potential Spread of Malware-

Malware can easily spread to a USB drive if infected files are uploaded to it and unknowingly transfer to every device the compromised USB is plugged into after becoming infected. You can mitigate the risk by consulting with a managed IT provider about installing anti-virus software on your computer that scans removeable media devices for these hazards and removes them.

Media Failure-

Although removeable media is a cost-effective way to share and back up information, it is known to have a short life span which makes relying on it risky. Many of these devices can fail without warning. The information stored there is unextractable once it fails which is why it needs to be backed up elsewhere, preferably to the cloud. Information stored in the cloud cannot be lost or destroyed in a natural disaster such as a fire or storm which is why it is more secure than if it is stored on a computer, removeable media device, or in a file cabinet.

Every company has its own cybersecurity practices It is a very good idea to have a second copy of your files, but equally important to make sure it is not done so in such a way that your network is opened to malware, your data security is put at risk or possibly lost forever.




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