The Dangers of Portable Drives

Have you ever seen a flash drive or CD sitting around with no apparent owner?

What should you do?
You should leave it right where you found it.

It could be filled with malware that will be let loose on your device as soon as you pop it in the machine. A scary fact is that you may not have to perform any action to download malware other than plug it into the computer. Sometimes, it’s better not to be a Good Samaritan by trying to find the owner.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case with the general public. A study by technology certificate provider CompTIA® found that nearly 20% of people that saw a lonely flash drive on the bench would put it in their computers. To test the numbers, CompTIA left 200 unbranded, rigged flash drives littered across four major U.S. cities. They were left in high traffic, public locations. Those who did try to read them proceeded to open the files on it, click on random links, or send email messages to addresses they found on the drives.

Tips and Advice

  • Nothing should ever be attached to any device unless you are certain of its origins and that it’s safe.
  • Always assume that if something is left laying around, it’s probably not filled with family photos. It’s more likely spring-loaded with malware waiting to wreak havoc on your device.
  • Don’t touch it!

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