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Risks of USB Flash Devices to Business Networks

USB flash drive capacity, physical size and speed have phenomenally increased over the past years. Not only are they useful but they have also been deemed indispensable for the regular computer user, owing to their multifaceted features and low price.

However, there are some risks associated with the use of these devices though they technically provide the user with the capacity to carry vast amounts of data in their pockets. The primary risk is the loss of productivity and the breach of security that are associated with the USB devices.

Employees can choose to bring their USB devices to the workplace and download music or movies or software from the Internet which usually have malware and adware incorporated in them. Though antivirus applications are designed to check the USB devices for viral content, the efficiency of their scans is under question since it is a physical flash drive.

Further, employees bring unofficial applications that are not suitable for the workplace and tend to install them on their workstations. It may not be a viral application, but some software applications have portals which are vulnerable to virus attacks.

It has been stated in information technology and security magazines that the major reason for virus attacks on the corporate network is because of malware and infectious files on flash drives. It is important to understand that the security protocols on office networks are powerful than those on home computers because the risks to which they are subjected to is less. Because a USB device passes the scans on a home computer, it does not imply that it can be plugged into the office network. Some USB devices have auto installer information packages which could lead to potential risks in the business networks.

Data theft and leakage remains the most serious problem associated with USB flash devices. The workstation is typically the storehouse of business records, financial transactions and corporate information in the form of files. The majority of the information is vital to the company for which they are governed by confidentiality agreements.

Employees have been known to open files on their USB devices thereby compromising the information on them and the integrity of the whole network. Though, the documents and data are deleted, this can happen only to the folders you have created. It can also happen when you download files from the USB device to your computer.

It has been stated that because the files on the USB devices are not completely erased, they will still be there if a certain employee decides to risk loading the public folder where USB information is kept.

So, this brings us to the next issue preventing the USB devices from being stolen or lost. A corporate network is virtually edified by a network engineer who happens to have an access to the unguarded USB devices located in the office.

The information on these devices may also be accessed by the network administrator who has direct access to the computers being hosted by the network.

The potentials of such attacks are huge since one can imagine the damage and destruction brought about by such an event. It turns out that the administrator of the network has been able to use the USB devices to launch deadly viruses that affect other computers on the LAN and that too with the use of the Antivirus Engine which is developed to identify and kill the viruses.

Since the USB devices have become so popular, it has been made possible to use them for different purposes. It is easy to identify and use these devices for different purposes because they have become so easy to use. Making use of them for malicious purposes will give the disadvantage to the company. Therefore, to make use of these devices mean losing the flow of information and customers to your business. Since your business depends on the number of customers coming to your site, you can’t afford to lose out on a single customer.

Since your employees are not responsible enough for their own safety, you have to make sure that they are provided with enough security training. Red flags should be raised if there are any suspicious actions by your employees such as:

If any of these things are happening in your office or store, it is necessary that you hire the services of a professional network security company to ensure that the network is free of malicious attacks.

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