The National KE-CIRT/CC

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Flash Drive Security


USB flash drives, or memory sticks, are data storage devices for your computer that are typically removable and rewritable. The small size of the device makes it highly portable – but also creates a concern for data security. With storage space of up to 128 Gigabytes (GB), these devices can hold large multimedia files like documents, images, videos and audio data.


Because of their size and general portability, these drives are often used by attackers to spread malicious software by copying them onto a victim’s drive and leaving the victim distribute it themselves. An attacker can also use their own flash drives to plug into a victim’s machine and delete or distort Information. It is important to exercise caution on your workstation when using your flash drives to prevent malicious attackers from compromising your information.


 Best Practices When Using Your Flash Drive:

• Update your antivirus software and set it to scan all devices immediately they are plugged into your machine.

• Lock or password-protect your USB device.

• Do not store sensitive information on the drive.

• Most USB drives will allow users to divide up their file capacity into a public area that can be used by anyone who has the drive and a protected private area that requires a password or even fingerprint. Carefully select the correct areas when saving.

• Keep your personal information and work information on separate USB drive.

• If you are using a computer with sensitive information on it, disable USB support. This can be done by IT support.

• Frequently back up any important data on your flash drive to prevent loss of important information.

• Regularly wipe (format) your flash drive to prevent infection from viruses or any other malicious software.

• Always keep your flash drive in a secure location or on your person (e.g. on a lanyard carried around your neck or on a keyring hooked on your waistband).


What Should You Do When Your Flash Drive Has Been Compromised? 

• Run a full antivirus scan on both the flash drive and your machine.

• Delete all suspicious looking files or folders that may appear because it can be a malicious software.

• Consider wiping your flash drive completely to erase all instances of the malware.

• Inform your friends or coworkers who may have used your flash drive to prevent any further spread of the malware.


For more information on security Tips, Please visit the National KE-CIRT/CC Security Library.

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