USB Drive Safety Precautions

There are a few precautions that can be taken in order to protect the information on your USB drive.

Take advantage of security features- Use things like passwords and encryption to help secure your flash drive and make sure that your data is well protected. It is also very important that you back up your data in case your data is ever lost.

Keep business and personal USB drives separate- It’s on good practice to keep personal information on the same USB drive as one containing personal information and vice versa. Likewise you shouldn’t connect a USB drive containing personal information on a business computer as you shouldn’t connect a USB drive with business information to a personal computer.

Use and maintain security software, and keep all software up to date- Firewall, anti virus and anti spyware software should all be used to help make your computer safer. Any necessary patches for your software should be applied to keep your computer up to date.

Do not plug an unknown USB drive into your computer- If you find a USB drive, you should either give it to the authorities such as your organization’s IT department or any local security personnel. You should NOT try to connect the USB drive to your computer to view the contents or identify the owner because it is possible that there may be malware inside of the drive that could infect your computer.

Disable Autorun- Autorun allows removable media to be opened automatically whenever they are connected to a computer. This is a security risk because an infected drive can connect to your computer and infect it with malicious code if autorun is not disabled.

http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/tips/ST08-001.html

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9 thoughts on “USB Drive Safety Precautions

  1. Excellent points! One thing I like to do is find a label-maker and put my e-mail address on the USB drive. That way, if some one finds it, they can send me an e-mail without having to plug the thumb drive into a computer (and exposing the computer to virus threats, like you pointed out).

    • I like the label idea a lot. I did not stop to think about ways to let someone know how to reach me should my flash drive be misplaced until fairly recently. One should follow these security practices and also take steps like you had mentioned to insure that someone that does follow best practices will be able to find your flash drive and return it to you.

  2. All these tips are great including the auto run feature. identify what is on a thumb drive before running it on your computer. If something strikes your eye as suspicious then throw it away or attempt to find the owner.

    • Anything suspicious should also be reported to the proper authorities such as the police. If you were to find something such as a death threat, I think it would be appropriate to let a law enforcement official know about it so that they can take any steps necessary.

  3. How would you encourage students in Golisano to follow these safety precautions?
    I’ve found quite a few flashdrives in computer labs, but its already plugged into the computers. But for unplugged flashdrives that are left on the desks, is pretty tempting for a student in Golisano to plug in. I don’t think many of them know about all the risks so they just plug it in to find out who it belongs to. And on top of that, it looks like all the other flashdrives that we got during orientation week, so it looks safe for most people.

    • That is a very good question since it is not always easy to spread proper awareness on such topics like security. I would try to post flyers on the doors and walls of every accessible computer lab that tell students not to plug in misplaced flash drives that they may find. I’d also try to make inform students of these dangers during the orientation when they are given the flash drives as well. While it may look safe, a person should always try to question just how safe it may be.

  4. These are really important in preventing and protecting your USB if it happens to become stolen. In my opinion, I would put my phone number or something like that on it so if it gets lost they can just contact me that way without having to go through it.

  5. In my programming class, someone left their flash drive and keys in the lab and my professor plugged it in to a computer in an attempt to see who it belonged to. Not what you want to do.

  6. USB devices, though are very useful, can be very dangerous if you dont really know whats on them. A friend had a file they wanted to print out on my computer and they plugged their flash drive into my computer and instantly my computers anti virus popped up and caught a trogan virus that was on their flash drive. It just goes to show you that you should make sure you have update and working anti virus software.

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