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As cloud storage has grown in popularity, the use of USB flash drives has declined in many settings. The decline in popularity of USB flash drives, however, hasn’t necessarily diminished their threat. USB flash drives still enjoy a following in many environments. Data stored on USB flash drives is viewed as more secure because there is no network connectivity involved. While USB flash drives can be handy, they are only as secure as the people who handle them. One particular report from 2021 suggests that 37 percent of threats were specifically designed to utilize removable media, which almost doubled from the 2020 report (19 percent). 

What can you do?

  • Limit the use of USB flash drives. Where necessary, be sure to lock or otherwise secure areas (like the server room) so un-approved USB flash drives cannot be used.
  • Use encrypted USB flash drives with Windows Bitlocker or Mac Native Encryption. This provides a layer of protection should a USB flash drive with sensitive data fall into the wrong hands. Some models have fingerprint authentication.
  • Educate employees never to plug in unknown USB flash drives.

The bottom line: With so many vectors for cyber criminals to take advantage of, it would be easy to ignore USB flash drives. Doing so could cripple your business.

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