To USB or not to USB, well not in the DoD - what do you do?

Published: 2008-11-21
Last Updated: 2008-11-21 13:16:48 UTC
by Mark Hofman (Version: 1)
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To most of you this is no longer news. The DOD issued orders that USB drives and other removable devices are no longer to be used.   Through autorun features and the presence of some nasty malware the decision was made to prohibit the use of the devices in an attempt to contain a malware outbreak. 

There have been a number of examples of this type of thing in the past (remember the digital frames? ) and I must confess removable devices are not my favourite thing, nor should they be yours.   Apart from the malware angle there is also the data leakage angle.  How much information is walking out the door everyday? Yet many organisations take the ostrich approach and ignore the problem as to hard to solve. 

There are quite  a number of commercial products on the market that allow you to control removable devices, audit what is read or written to them, which devices can be used and what content can be taken from them.   The products typically also control other devices such as the wireless on laptops, infrared and bluetooth.  All potential avenues of data leakage. 

Natively there are still somethings you can do such as use group policies to control access to the USB ports.  Epoxy glue also works a treat.  The main thing is to manage the risk.  Accept that the threat exists, determine the potential impact to your organisation and decide what you are going to do about it. 

Let us know what you do to control removable devices.  I'll update the diary at the end of the shift with your suggestions.

Mark - Shearwater

Keywords: USB
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