1

Per order from our Department of Computer Security:

Staff should follow the Data Protection Law by not connecting a flash drive with personal data of clients to a computer with Windows OS that has access to internet, wired or Wi-Fi. That does not apply to computers with Linux or Mac OS.

Is this correct that this difference exists and data from hard drives or flash drives can leak to internet on Windows OS if such a computer has hidden malware software running on it? There is no such risk for UNIX systems due to different architecture?

4

That order is only partially effective:

Generally, attached storage - be it hard drives or thumb drives - can be exfiltrated.

Yet, this reads like „unplug the network, use flash drive, plug network back in“. And that won’t help generally; malware could just buffer the contents until there is internet available for exfiltration (and the Vault 7 papers show us that that is in fact happening).

Also, such malware can easily exist for Mac OS or Linux as well.

While this order and practice can reduce the risk, it does not mitigate it completely.

  • 2
    I'm guessing that this order is made as a reactionary measure to a specific problem they had previously. The dept found that a certain malware was spreading and found that it only affected Windows and disconnecting stopped the malware from functioning. So they issued an edict to mitigate that particular problem. Unfortunately, such reactionary measures aren't the best way to develop security practices, reactionary measures can only solve past problem and good magicians don't do the same trick twice. – Lie Ryan Nov 19 '17 at 17:12
  • @LieRyan Can firewall be better security practice in this case? – user164863 Nov 19 '17 at 17:19
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    @user164863 sure. A completely shut firewall is almost as good as a disconnected network. But what do you mean by „better“? – Tobi Nary Nov 19 '17 at 17:20
  • @SmokeDispenser better than having two separated computers - one for personal data, second one for internet access – user164863 Nov 20 '17 at 12:21
  • For security? Nope. No network is better than a firewall. – Tobi Nary Nov 20 '17 at 13:20

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