Computer Security: here’s how to protect yourself from infected USB drives

It's not only malware on the Net that puts our privacy and security at risk, it's good to pay attention to pendrives too

Ransomware, Trojans or e-mail phishing. There are various and different names of malware that scare us and that are undermining our computer security in the last period. However, there is one danger that many of us do not foresee, because it is not present on the Internet. It is viruses hidden in USB flash drives.

For a cyber criminal to take possession of a computer through a USB flash drive is one of the easiest ways. In fact, the device, if we don't take precautions, accepts by default any USB connection, even the most harmful for our security. How to defend yourself? The most recommended choice is to use a USB firewall. This will allow us to understand, when we insert a pen drive in our PC, if it has been infected by a hacker or not. You may think it's a paranoid fear, but often for work we use USB sticks that are not ours. And as we will see, these attacks have also affected institutions and government agencies.

Hacker attacks with infected USBs

One of the most famous hacker attacks of this kind is definitely the Stuxnet virus. The malware was able to temporarily sabotage Iran's nuclear program. Do you want to know how it was spread? Simple, an Israeli infiltrator brought an infected pendrive into the Natanz nuclear facility. Russian hackers also stole various data during a NATO meeting in Kabul. The technique was the same, pretending to be sponsors of the meeting they gave infected USB sticks to the participants and whoever then used the device on their computer became unwitting victims. Of course, we don't all have a nuclear plan or geopolitical documents to hide, but when we buy a cheap flash drive or borrow one, it is always better to be extremely careful.

How it works

First of all, let's say that having an antivirus installed on the computer does not protect us from these attacks. In fact, malicious code recorded on pendrives is not interpreted as a danger. To better protect yourself you can use a virtualized operating system like Qubes. While USG is the only plug-and-play that doesn't require you to change operating systems. The USG contains two STM32F4 microprocessors that communicate over a high-speed serial link. This internal link forms a firewall barrier that effectively blocks malicious USB commands from reaching your computer.

Come difendersi dagli attacchi hacker

Cliccando sui link che seguono, invece, potrete scoprire  suggerimenti, alcuni più tecnici altri più alla portata di tutti, riguardanti la sicurezza informatica e scoprire le tipologie di attacchi più comuni: dagli attacchi DDoS al phishing, passando per le botnet.

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