Malware In A Flash: It’s A Thing

malware in a flash, IT management, Aptica LLC,

I don’t often get to discuss a subject ripped from today’s headlines, but malware in a flash drive is a security issue you should be aware of. So here’s a little warning. Recently a Chinese woman talked her way into Mar-A-Lago and was then arrested. On her person she had, among other odd things, a flash drive (thumb drive, USB drive) loaded with malware. What could go wrong with that?

We’ve all seen in the movies how the hero sneaks into a dark office, slides in a small, portable drive to the bad guy’s computer, downloads in only seconds all the key information to save the day, then pulls the drive and just escapes before the lights come on, right? Well, everyday use of flash drives is usually in broad daylight and almost never goes so fast. But flash drives bringing down business networks are a daily threat.

Doesn’t every hotel and motel have a computer in their lobbies these days? I know of an oil-change business that keeps a computer in their waiting room for customers to use while their cars are serviced. What’s to keep anyone from using those well-intentioned outlets to insert a flash drive that could bring down that business network? Ask CPA firms about companies who send their tax information in on thumb drives. Too many times the employee who is given this company to work on will gratefully insert the drive without hesitation, and too many times, the next action is to call the IT management company for rapid recovery services. Attorneys get information from opposing counsel on flash drives. Medical offices will have patients come in with medical histories on flash drives. Spy thrillers aside, the use of these small, portable storage devices is very mainstream and common these days.

How To Protect Your Network And Still Accept Flash Drives

Your IT management company will set up a protocol, a vetting system, that needs to be followed every time you must use information given to you on a flash drive. This protocol will scan the drive for malware and advise you of next steps. The key here is, obviously, consistency. Malware on flash drives is now a common evil like hacking and ransomware, much as we may wish it was not. If you need to have a computer in your lobby for your guests or customers, let your IT manager configure it so that it will connect to the Internet but not to your company data. There are many ways to defend against infected or corrupted USB drives.

Cybersecurity is the element of Information Technology that is now the front line strategy for overall computer effectiveness. It’s constantly evolving and changing to meet the endless barrage of attacks from thieves and hackers. You don’t have to keep up with the latest security threats, but it’s sure nice to work with someone who does. If you’re not sure how secure your business network is, we know what questions to ask you to figure it out. Give Aptica a call.

Jason Newburg, 260.243.5100, ext 2101, is the founder and owner of Aptica LLC. This IT management and support company has been serving small to medium sized businesses for 16 years in the region that includes Angola, South Bend, and Fort Wayne, IN, Battle Creek, MI, and Toledo OH.

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