Portable media is anything that can be used to hold information in a form that a computer may read. This information can be manually exchanged between computer based devices. It can be magnetic tape, CDs, DVDs, memory sticks, flash drives, smart cards, and thumb drives. If your computer has a suitable port then one of these devices can deliver data or files to the computer.
Portable devices are electronic devices that are microprocessor based. These contain memory and can exchange information with another microprocessor based device. The interface method may be a wired system or wireless. These devices include laptops, tablets, smart phones, digital cameras, and MP3 players.
Portable media and devices are convenient for access to personal and business information. Portable media and devices must be controlled to prevent these items from being a delivery mechanism for the infection and spread of malicious software. Processes must be put in place to provide a high assurance that the infection and spread does not occur. This involves creating policies, procedures, and training to prevent it from occurring.
There is a huge and always growing set of malware that can be passed between systems and devices. Companies that provide access to their systems by even trusted vendors using their portable media and devices will eventually have a malware problem. Many places force their vendors to use portable media and devices that are controlled under the company’s established processes. Any addition overhead in time and cost are easily less expensive than cleaning your entire system and recovering data lost to malware.
Remember the same properties that make portable media and devices convenient, also make them easy to misplace and susceptible to introducing malware to your network. Mitigate your risk by establishing a proceduralized program for controlling your portable media and devices.
For more tips on how to safeguard your systems from portable devices visit the National Cybersecurity Institute. Don’t miss part two of Cybersecurity – Control of Portable Media and Devices on Monday.