Top 5 USB Flash Drive Hidden Security Risks

USB flash drives are by a land slide the most popular means of making data portable. Well over 150 000 000 USB drives where sold last year according to Gartner. But standard unsecure USB flash drives unfortunately comes with a line of built in security risks that every user should be aware of. Here are the top 5 hidden security risks with standard unsecure USB flash drives. Followed by our readily available secure USB solution.

1. Delete Does Not Mean What You Think When it Comes to USB Flash Drives.

When it comes to erasing files the Delete button should really read Hide. This is what we call the FAT recovery issue. You “delete” a file from your USB flash drive or perform a Quick Format to “delete” all files. What this actually does is comparable to placing a sheet of white paper, as an only safeguard, over the stack of sensitive documents left on your desk. It just erases the reference to the file in the FAT, the file allocation table that each drive has. The file itself is still there, just in temporary hiding, since standard USB flash drives have no reset feature. Using FAT data recovery or repair tools anyone can bring your “deleted” secrets into the daylight again. This could mean embarrassment or catastrophe depending on the data stored.

2. Misplacing a USB Flash Drive For Any Amount of Time is a Real Risk.

When a drive is misplaced, or left out of sight, your data might be tampered with. New USB malware threaths spreads this way and even worse is that your stored stuff might have been copied of. You never know, because there is no way telling what has happened when you where off guard. Even if you encrypt your files with a security software the encrypted files could be copied off to perform a what is called a parallel off-line attack with rainbow tables and software tampering software. Even script kiddies can pull things like this off. The files are simply there in the open, available for anyone to fiddle around with given the shortest moment of opportunity.

3. Budget USB Flash Drives Puts Your Data at Risk.

If the USB flash drive was to cheap then the flash component part of your USB flash drive is probably fading away at an alarming speed. 8GB can rapidly tare down to only actually store 7GB and the 6GB, 5GB, 4GB, 3GB. You see the pattern. This will risk the stored files and folders. On the actual flash is where your data is stored. Think of flash circuits like little boards with millions of little miniature switches on them. Each switch tells the computer a story about the data stored on the USB flash drive. Good flash have perfect switches, built to last through a life-time of heavy usage. Low-cost bargain USB flash drives can be equipped with switches that are already broken or will fall off and break after even just one use. This means that the storage capacity of the USB flash drive will die of quickly and that the data stored by the faulty switch will become corrupted. This will mean that the files stored are not secure against data loss. Losing work this way can be costly and very annoying.

4. Your Unsecure USB Flash Drive Can Set of a Computer Catastrophe.

The autorun feature that easily can be copied onto any standard USB drive is like a crazy friend that invites thugs with baseball bats to your house warming party. It has no built in judgment what so ever. Windows Autorun consists of two files. One autorun.inf that is a pointer file directed towards the second, the target executable/program that is to run. And it will run anything, and I mean anything, even Conficker which was the malware that highlighted this security flaw. A malicious Autorun configuration can seriously mess up any computer you stick the drive into. The problem is actually so bad that Microsoft removed the autorun completely for removable storage in the upcoming Windows 7 release.

5. Standard USB Flash Drives Have NO Built in Security Features.

There is no password protection or encryption of the data stored on a standard USB flash drive. This might be OK for the family photos but not for your work related data. If you misplace the unsecure USB flash drive you can cause a breach that sets your company back quite a bit of money. Globally over 20 000 000 USB flash drives where lost just last year so you would, sad to say, be in good company. Of course your organization do not want  to end up becoming a headline for something as easy to lose as a USB stick.

What Should One do to Safeguard Data Stored on a USB Flash Drive?

The easiest and by far most cost-efficient solution is to use a high quality secure USB flash drive. Simply make the switch to SafeStick and instantly it will safeguard your portable data. The NHS, the National Health Service, in the UK  choose to protect its data with over 100.000 SafeStick secure USB flash drives. BlockMaster’s proven solution with SafeStick and SafeConsole (central management software) will solve all of the 5 above problems and furthermore help you increase your productivity with secure portable applications and two-factor authentication.

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