Reduced cybersecurity risks are a top priority for any business manager. USB flash drives, which are loved by employees but hated by IT managers, are one of the devices. IT managers are not fond of flash drives because they do not work properly. Few people are aware of this issue or have given it any thought. So, we’ll go over the details.
IT managers are against flash drives as they make it easy for malware to spread. By design, flash drives are meant to be connected and disconnected quickly. This facilitates the transfer of files between computers. This presents a tremendous opportunity for malware.
Wouldn’t it be great if flash drives were not open to such possibilities and at the same time, easy to use?
Before we address the fundamental flaw in how USB flash drives function, let’s look at five steps a Virus will take to see if it can spread via USB.
- Check to see whether there is a USB stick connected to the computer. If so, it will infect that computer.
- Check for compatibility with the USB drive’s file system: The virus checks to see if the USB drive is compatible with it and able to write files.
- Check the space available on your USB Flash Drive: The virus will determine the amount of space available to it on the USB to see if it can copy itself and any other files.
- Check the USB’s security settings: The virus would look at the USB security settings and see if a USB is read-only. If it does not have any restrictions, it would be unable to copy itself onto the drive.
- Copy itself on the USB Flash Drive: Lastly, the virus would try to copy itself onto the USB Flash drive, using available exploits to bypass security features and gain entry to the drive.
Bullet points 1 to 4 are only qualifiers. Once the virus is active, the task at hand, which involves copying the files on the USB drive, will begin. Step five is where flash drives stop working as they should.
It is important that a USB Flash Drive’s default setting be Read-Only or Write Protected. The drive will only become writable after the user has temporarily unlocked it. Here’s how a USB flash drive is supposed to work.
The ability to control when a device becomes writable can also be used to control when and how malware will spread. It’s important to note the subtle actions a computer virus takes to spread.
- Malware will remain dormant indefinitely until a specific situation arises.
- Malware can check the properties or enumeration of a USB device at the time it powers up. Malware can quickly assess the configuration of a device to determine whether it is capable of spreading. If malware can’t, it becomes dormant.
- After the enumeration of a device, the malware won’t return because, after all, it was designed to avoid attracting attention.
The write protection is configured at the hardware level controller, which means it follows the drive no matter what computer system or device it is connected to. Write protection is not dependent on the host. The write protection of the device is highly secure as machine code or firmware on microchips is difficult to hack.
Nexcopy offers the most impressive feature: By default, the device has to write protection. This means, that if power is disconnected, either through “ejection” (properly removing the drive) or by pulling it out, this default state will be restored.
Lock License drives are less susceptible to a virus spread due to the default setting. This is compared with other flash drives on the market. It is not possible to eliminate all the risks of a USB drive spreading a virus because there are always human errors. But for IT managers, this type of technology can make it easier for them to get back into the USB flash drive.