Cybercriminals have been utilizing USB as an exit point for their nefarious attacks over the years. There are actually so many different kinds of USB attack exactly how these attacks target both corporations and individuals. Basically, USB attacks are in the scope of cyber criminology, and such an attacker aims to compromise an individual by means of a USB attached to the infected PC. Of course, the USB is just one component on the cyber-radar that a hacker needs to successfully get into a system. There are other components needed to ensure the success of his mission.
The most common and probably the first element a hacker thinks of when speaking about USB attack is the usage of portable storage devices. With this in mind, every computer user should be familiar with the threat of USB attack – specifically the exploitation of mass storage devices such as flash drives. It doesn’t matter if you have a thumb drive or a pen drive; these devices can easily be compromised and used to transmit malware to your PC. If a USB storage device has got into your computer’s USB port, you have already fallen victim to the most sophisticated form of USB attack – the USB kill switch.
A USB kill switch works just like any other hardware device connected to your computer. It’s installed between the device (the USB storage device in this instance) and your PC. Whenever you use a specific port on your computer, this specific port gets disabled. Since it is practically impossible to know which ports are being controlled by the USB device, every time you use a USB storage device that is infected, you are indirectly giving hackers the opportunity to compromise your system.
The biggest threat of all is that not all USB storage devices that you get are actually infected. Most of the time, these are sold to you by legitimate companies who want to provide you with a way to back up your files. The other way is through open source software that you install directly on your computer. Unfortunately, these open source tools often contain vulnerabilities that can be exploited in order to carry out USB attacks. The only way to ensure that you are not a target for USB attacks is to make sure that you always use a trusted and certified USB storage device with the latest firmware from a recognized manufacturer.
What is so bad about USB attacks? Well, aside from the fact that it is a very easy and convenient way to spread malware to your computer, the fact is that these infections can also be used as a part of social engineering. This is especially true when it comes to using fake USB storage devices in order to obtain sensitive information from your computer. Furthermore, many different security threats can originate from USB storage devices. This is why it is important to make sure that your computer is running a completely secure operating system, especially if you are storing sensitive data on USB drives.
You may think that you are safe from the threat of malicious USB attacks if you only have a simple flash drive or memory stick in which you store personal files. However, many people don’t consider that even simple things like pen drives can provide access to other people’s data. This is because malware can often be installed on USB thumb drives even if they have been cleaned or removed using conventional means. With all this considered, you will probably find it quite surprising that many companies and governments have started using remote access malware detection and prevention as a way of protecting their data and computers from being targeted by malicious usb drives.
For one, there are some cases where a hacker can create a working replica of a flash drive and load it into a USB device. With enough time, the working copy of the device can cause damage to the computer or just steal information. In addition to using flash drives as a vehicle for carrying malware, they can also be used to carry out additional attacks, including the leaking of exploits and codes. Remote access attacks are not limited to the installation of malware but can also come from the exploitation of vulnerabilities found in websites.
Many companies have turned to USB drive protection to keep their information secure. They have also found that by blocking USBs before they are attached, they can prevent a number of different attacks. Since they are inexpensive and portable, they are a common target for attackers. Therefore, security companies have invested significant time and money in understanding how to detect, protect against USB malware attacks. While these tools might not eliminate the problem entirely, they will at least help you keep your data safe.