How safe is your USB flash drive?
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How safe is your USB flash drive?

How safe is your USB flash drive?

Recently the Australian Victoria Police issued a warning regarding USB flash drives being dropped into people’s letterboxes.
This tactic by scammers is one where they hope you will insert the USB into a computer, thus enabling malware to be downloaded.
The police alert is a very timely warning and for more than one reason. As mentioned in the police news article, these particular USB’s are placed in people’s letterboxes disguised as a freebie. However, when plugged into a computer, offers from a fraudulent media streaming service, along with other serious issues, were discovered because the flash drives contain malware.
In 2011 – Security firm Sophos studied 50 USB flash drives, gained from a transit authority’s lost property area. They found two-thirds of the USB’s were infected with Malware and those that contained important data files – were not encrypted.
USB’s are a significant issue, as they can trick the user into downloading other software, such as spyware, ransomware, or a keylogger. This type of malware can not only harm the files in your computer, it can adapt to read your files, including personal emails, or other private information.
Although most organisations these days give employees encrypted USB’s, it’s a good idea to continue to scan for malware each time you insert them into a computer.
This is especially true if you share a USB amongst family, friends or work colleagues.
Scanning for Malware should be done as part of the digital hygiene of your devices, and it needs to include Mac’s.. as they are not immune!
Running a full scan on your computer is paramount, as well as keeping your anti-virus software updated.
Besides malware, the other point of interest is what the USB files may contain. It could include sensitive data, or worse explicit content.
This can place you in a significant situation of reporting the information to police, or having to negate your involvement in any criminal circumstance, especially as the information may now be stored on your computer.
With cyber crime awareness on the increase, many people are more digital savvy and mindful of the activities tried by online scammers.
However, this forces cybercriminals to find more resourceful ways to deceive people with unsuspecting techniques and this latest USB con is proof of their formula.
My Tips –
Always be skeptical of USB drives that are left lying around, or given away for free..(if not from a reputable organisation) without secure packaging.
Cyber Security Tips: Scan your devices often, as well as your USB flash drives. Encrypt your USB for maximum protection.
Use Passwords / Passcodes and include 2FA on your accounts where possible.
Stay updated of online scams via Scamwatch
Report Cybercrime to ACORN.