Feeds

SanDisk warns that unsecured flash drives are coming to get you

Nightmare at 20,000MB

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Over three quarters of American IT workers use memory sticks for work-related purposes, and most corporate heads don't have a clue about the peril they face as a result of the stick love.

Or so that's what SanDisk discovered via a survey commissioned to explore the risks of using unsecured USB flash drives in enterprise organizations.

The memory vendor wants to remind IT management to be good and scared over the prospect of their apparently oafish and forgetful grunts stuffing these 'devil sticks' with sensitive information like it was Paxo Sage & Onion.

SanDisk's numbers came from a commissioned phone survey conducted in the US in March 2008 by Applied Research-West.

About 77 per cent of surveyed employees use flash drives at work. When corporate IT leaders were asked to estimate the number of employees they thought used personal flash drives, on average they said only 35 per cent.

You...should...have...listened...

Tut, tut, says SanDisk. Because end-user respondents also said that data they were most likely to copy onto a memory stick includes customer records (25 per cent), financial information (17 per cent), business plans (15 per cent), employee records (13 per cent), marketing plans (13 per cent), intellectual property (six per cent) and source code (six per cent).

(We'll suppose the remaining 11 per cent consists of goatse and humorous photos of cats, which to be fair can be equally nefarious when in the wrong hands.)

This security lapse might be okay if the survey didn't indicate approximately one in ten end-users reported finding a flash drive in a public place. When asked to pick the three most likely actions they would take if they found a memory stick in public, 55 per cent said they would view the data.

"Surely there are measures in place to protect our precious data," you may be thinking. But about 44 per cent of polled employees said, to their knowledge, their company does not have a policy that forbids copying corporate data to a personal USB flash drive.

And why should a memory stick maker tell us to panic over the misuse of memory sticks? Oh ho ho, well it just so happens SanDisk sells secured flash drives aimed at corporate use.

Just yesterday SanDisk announced version 3.0 of its Central Management and Control software for its Cruzer Enterprise USB flash drives. Perish the thought of us being overly-cynical, but not a moment too soon!

Bootnote

But seriously folks, flash drive security for corporations is no laughing matter.

By the way, if anyone in the Silicon Valley area finds a red thumb drive with a vulture logo on it — don't look inside. And if you already did, that's...uh...you should know the contents are perfectly legal in the country it was uploaded from. ®

Related Reviews
IronKey 1GB secure USB Flash drive
SanDisk Cruzer Pro, Enterprise secure USB Flash drives

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Object storage bods Exablox: RAID is dead, baby. RAID is dead
Bring your own disks to its object appliances
Nimble's latest mutants GORGE themselves on unlucky forerunners
Crossing Sandy Bridges without stopping for breath
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?