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Pen Drive - A Necessary Evil?

Sep 2, 2008
Technology has always been a necessary evil. The more the technology develops, the greater are the chances of its being abused. Pen drive, the small storage device used to store and transfer data to and from computers, has gained popularity due to its functionality. It has got thousands of uses. Ease of use and convenience is the prime reason of its popularity.

However, like many other equipments, pen drives are also a necessary evil and pose a potential security threat to the technology world. When placed in wrong hands, the portability and high storage capacity of the pen drive can be hazardous. The device has evolved as a threat to the corporate and other organizations where security of data is given utmost importance.

The threats that are associated with pen drives are serious. Some of them are listed below.

Stealing of data:

Apart from the defense department, the corporate sectors all over the world are under the threat of data theft for espionage. There is no dearth of incidents where spies, hackers and other source are employed to steal data. A pen drive gives ample of opportunity for the theft from an unattached or unlocked PC with a USB port. It is easy to access data and steal information like client list, research data or any other information. The hackers can even bring the software with a pen drive allowing the user to hack password or other confidential information.

Spreading virus:

Earlier, floppy drives and emails were considered as main source of virus to computers. However, there has been anti-virus software developed to counter virus and protect the PC. But with pen drive it is difficult to check the virus with the safeguard as the device can bypass the protection. It is almost impossible to defend against the viruses unless and until you have strong anti-virus policies or you are not scanning all files in your network. It is easy for a virus writer to corrupt the entire network of a corporate environment with a pen drive.

Plant malicious software:

Virus apart, it is not difficult for anyone to take any spamware and plant it in the PC. In corporate sectors the threat multiplies when employees use pen drives to bring unauthorized software or any other data such as software pranks, sharewares, mp3 files, pornography pictures, video clips and other inappropriate data that is against the corporate ethics. As pen drives allow more space, it is easy to bring bulky software which impossible with a floppy. Situation worsens when the software is used to crack password.

Causing data loss:

Pen drives barely allow any security system in terms of password or any other built in security feature. So it is more likely that if a person loses a pen drive, the data inside it can be accessed by anyone. If it falls in wrong hands he or she can misuse it. a pen drive can be easily stolen or misplaced and the data stored inside it can be easily manipulated. There have large demand for pen drives with some security systems such as finger-print reader or protective software.

There has been a conscious protest against pen drives in many private and government organization. Though it is a convenient device for the productive brains, it has proved to be beneficial for the thieves as well. Pen drives are small in size and have greater capacity to store information. Hence the thieves can carry the device stealthily in pockets and take information.

Unless and until any drastic step has been takes against it, the security of any organization can be in stake. Even a visitor can retrieve data easily from an open computer. Considering these threats, some companies have taken some protective measures for their security by banning pen drive inside company premises. It can reduce the threat to some extent.
About the Author
You can have access to portuguese articles about pen drives from page www.polomercantil.com.br/pen-drive.php

Roberto Sedycias works as IT consultant for www.polomercantil.com.br
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