Technology significantly improves our productivity at work, but they also pose many threats to companies. The universal serial bus or USB ports are widely used for connecting with USB devices that ensure effective computer networking. However, this equipment can seriously damage your business unless you use USB management software. Here are 6 ways how unprotected USB connection can negatively affect your corporate policy and even destroy your network.
1. Stealing Sensitive Data through USB Drives
Employees with low morale can easily steal accessed information using flash drives. USB devices are an easy way to hide data stealing under the veil of performing working duties. If you don’t control what information is copied from your network, then you may face a serious data leakage one day. There are many cases when dismissing employees copied client databases, contacts of company’s partners, and even intellectual property when they leave the company. Then this information may be disclosed to your competitors. However, a USB management system will help you close this blind spot and protect against intentional data theft.
2. Using USB Devices for Personal Purposes
Information theft isn’t the only reason why your enterprise requires USB management. Some employees may also use flash drives for bringing tasks that aren’t related to their responsibilities. Even if you limit an Internet access to entertaining websites, your workers can be busy with previously downloaded videos or books they run from their flash drives. This can significantly decrease productivity at work and negatively affect your business. Fortunately, USB management software will let you know who is using a USB port and allow you to stop suspicious USB connections to your network.
3. Threats from Encrypted USB Drives
Some companies prefer to use encrypted flash devices that provide a certain level of security. However, it may not be enough to meet increasing security challenges. USB drives can have infected firmware that isn’t detected and prevented with antiviruses. Researchers at SR Lab discovered that the basic code in USB firmware can be modified and infected with malicious software. If an employee unintentionally inserts an infected flash drive, then a computer will automatically install a virus or emulate the profile of a network controller to steal DNS settings. In some cases, you may also try to stop automatic running of inserted devices, which isn’t always helpful either.
4. Security Breach from USB Devices
Apart from flash drives, there are many other USB devices that can also create a security breach for your enterprise. For instance, using a USB port, a user can connect an unauthorized modem or portable external hard drive. However, you can prevent this if you use a USB Device Management that isn’t only control the use of flash drives but also controls any connections to other USB devices.
5. Destroying Corporate Network through USB Drives
Some companies underestimate the importance of USB security, but just one flash drive infected with malware can destroy the corporate network. Booby-trapped USB drives can control the computer performance without any consent from a user. Special malware can also physically destroy the computer or even the whole network of the company. For instance, a USB pen drive provides a computer with a 220 volt charge that causes its instant explosion. Another malware known as Stuxnet worm uses zero-day holes and other Microsoft Windows vulnerabilities to spy an infected network and even physically destroy it. This virus spreads using a USB drive and was firstly used in 2010 for decreasing the efficiency of Iranian nuclear facilities.
6. Improving Corporate Security
The USB management policy is especially useful when your company personnel use authorized USB devices or tokens as an instrument for multi-factor authentication. Various USB devices are also necessary for work performance, such as modems, printers, and other input/output devices. In this case, it isn’t effective to block all USB ports or flash devices for preventing threats. You will need a smart management system with white and black lists of USB devices. Modern USB management software can provide these necessary features and notify your security administrator about all potential threats.
Considering the mentioned reasons, you can see that USB devices may pose a constant risk of computer viruses and data leakage. While it’s almost impossible to avoid the use of these devices, it’s better to implement a USB management system at your enterprise.
There are many types of USB management software, which you can use for blocking and scanning any flash devices, detecting viruses, controlling data transferring, and even managing your entire network.
This software can run on any operating systems and control computers remotely. Unlike antivirus programs, these systems allow you to react to USB threats immediately even if there is no connection to the Internet. In case of a potential threat, you can also limit the connection to all USB devices or create a list of authorized flash drives.
In addition to physical attacks, a USB management system will let you control the flow of sensitive information inside your company. Thus, you can easily detect any attempts of data leakage via flash drives and block them in real time.