USB drives are popular for storing and transporting data, but some of the characteristics that make them convenient also introduce security risks.
One option is for attackers to use your USB drive to infect other computers. An attacker might infect a computer with malicious code, or malware, that can detect when a USB drive is plugged into a computer. The malware then downloads malicious code onto the drive. When the USB drive is plugged into another computer, the malware infects that computer.
- Take advantage of security features – Use passwords and encryption on your USB drive to protect your data, and make sure that you have the information backed up in case your drive is lost.
- Keep personal and business USB drives separate – Do not use personal USB drives on computers owned by your organization, and do not plug USB drives containing corporate information into your personal computer.
- Use and maintain security software, and keep all software up to date – Use a firewall, anti-virus software, and anti-spyware software to make your computer less vulnerable to attacks, and make sure to keep the virus definitions current.
- Do not plug an unknown USB drive into your computer – If you find a USB drive, give it to the appropriate authorities (a location’s security personnel, your organization’s IT department, etc.). Do not plug it into your computer to view the contents or to try to identify the owner.
- Disable Autorun – The Autorun feature causes removable media such as CDs, DVDs, and USB drives to open automatically when they are inserted into a drive. By disabling Autorun, you can prevent malicious code on an infected USB drive from opening automatically.