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The risks of using USBs in the workplace

The USB drive. Small and inconspicuous, right?

Yes, they are convenient for storing or transferring data, but they can also be used to introduce viruses or malware into a company's computer network.

One of the most high-profile examples of this was the Stuxnet worm that was used to cripple Iran’s nuclear enrichment program back in 2010.

And a more recent example shockingly showed how USBs can be used to cause physical harm as one exploded in a journalist’s face.

Security risks of using USBs

If an employee plugs an infected USB into their work computer, the virus or malware can spread quickly to other devices on the network. This can compromise the security of the entire company, including sensitive information such as passwords, financial data, or client information.

In addition, USBs can be easily lost or stolen, and if they contain sensitive data, this could lead to a data breach or loss. This is especially concerning if the lost or stolen USB falls into the wrong hands, as the data on the drive could be used for malicious purposes.

What can you do to protect your business?

88% of cyber security breaches are due to human error so the management of your human risk factor is vital. Are your employees aware of the risks? Have they undergone appropriate training?

Human Risk Management – calculate, reduce and monitor human cyber risk with user-focused security.

Does your business have an appropriate Acceptable Use Policy? One that identifies the best security practices to observe when using USB drives? It's important for companies to establish policies around the use of USBs, such as restricting the use of personal USBs and providing employees with encrypted USBs that are less likely to be compromised or lost.

Precautions must be taken to protect sensitive information. This includes using anti-virus software to scan USBs before using them, encrypting sensitive data, and avoiding using USBs from unknown or untrusted sources.