228 votes
Accepted

How can USB sticks be dangerous?

Take a look at this USB keyboard: "But that's not a keyboard! That's an USB drive, silly!" Actually, no. It looks like a USB drive to you, but when it gets connected to a computer, it will report ...
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165 votes

What is the benefit of having FIPS hardware-level encryption on a drive when you can use Veracrypt instead?

super duper encrypted with FIPS 140-2 Level 3, 256-bit AES-XTS Yet such a massive price difference. All because one is "encrypted"? Your question is a bit like comparing a Toyota and a ...
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91 votes

How can USB sticks be dangerous?

Recently, a form of attack has surfaced which does not "hack" the computer through code or software vulnerabilities, but instead does actual damage to the electronics. A creator known as Dark Purple ...
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  • 6,457
83 votes

How to detect when files from my USB were copied to another PC?

No logs are recorded on the USB itself around file accesses. At best, you might know if the files were changed by looking at the file timestamps, which can sometimes happen just by opening them, ...
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79 votes

Is there any way to safely examine the contents of a USB memory stick?

I'd use a Raspberry Pi, the Model A/A+ without a network connection, as: It (or rather Linux) can read most types of filesystem on a USB stick. The only non-volatile storage it has is an SD card, ...
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  • 891
69 votes

How can empty USB sticks contain malware?

I'm afraid this stems from a misunderstanding from the reporter: ... said a device that appeared to be empty could still contain a virus. In the video the reporter's referring to it is clear, in ...
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  • 734
69 votes
Accepted

Allow only specific devices to be connected to USB

Buy a PS2 to USB adapter for keyboards+mice (important: both need to be in one usb port to make sure it's not a naive straight-through connector). They have logic and cost about $10 USD at time of ...
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  • 2,658
60 votes

Allow only specific devices to be connected to USB

You are taking the wrong side of the problem. If someone you do not trust can access to a machine, the machine has been compromised. Full stop. That's the reason why access to server rooms is highly ...
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58 votes
Accepted

BitLocker Drive Encryption NOT secure from drive mapping on network

You’re misunderstanding what BitLocker is supposed to protect against. The goal of BitLocker is to protect your data from cold boot attacks (as explained in a Technet blog entry). When you unlock a ...
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57 votes
Accepted

Can USB drive infect my PC with malware if I don't allow any autorun.inf to run?

Short answer: YES You can be infected even with a full patched Windows system and an updated antivirus. This happened before and can happen again. A few years ago, the Stuxnet worm was specially ...
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  • 50.3k
52 votes

How to detect when files from my USB were copied to another PC?

There is no way to be sure by strictly technical means. On the one hand, if your friend has antivirus software installed, it would probably scan your USB stick as soon as it was plugged in their ...
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50 votes

Is there any way to safely examine the contents of a USB memory stick?

The USB-killer wouldn't kill your PC if you connected it through an opto-isolated hub. They do exist, (search: "opto-isolated usb hub") but as I've never used one myself I'm not going to recommend a ...
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  • 4,185
47 votes
Accepted

How can empty USB sticks contain malware?

You can hack the firmware of a USB device. With that you can tell the OS whatever you want, eg. the device is empty even it is not. Or attack the USB software stack of the OS by sending data that a ...
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43 votes

How to safely wipe a USB flash drive

To quote the ISM (Australia's military standards for cyber security). Security Control: 0359; In flash memory media, a technique known as wear levelling ensures that writes are distributed evenly ...
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  • 1,349
40 votes

How can USB sticks be dangerous?

The "USB stick left outside the power plant" you are talking about sounds a lot like the Stuxnet affair. There was a surprising (and satisfying) amount of detail about the technical aspects in the ...
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38 votes
Accepted

Is Bitlocker secure enough for portable storage devices?

A cold boot attack is impossible on an offline device. The only way an attacker could use a cold boot attack on your portable storage device is if they also had physical access to your computer as it ...
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36 votes

Is there any way to safely examine the contents of a USB memory stick?

If we assume that the stick could have been physically altered for maximum nastiness, then one must take into account the possibility that the alleged "memory stick" will spew out some anthrax spores ...
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34 votes

Can USB drive infect my PC with malware if I don't allow any autorun.inf to run?

Yes, BadUSB turns benign (USB) devices into malicious monsters by reprogramming the controller chips. This is on a much lower level than the 'autorun' feature that you are talking about. USB Rubber ...
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28 votes
Accepted

How to prevent network administrators from accessing USB drive

You effectively can't. If you're on somebody else's machine and they have administrative rights to it, then that's the game. The quite fancy answer be mandatory access control systems like SELinux ...
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28 votes

How can USB sticks be dangerous?

A famous example of what you are asking about is this advisory from Microsoft. The vulnerability referred to is triggered just by inserting the USB stick; no other interaction from the user is ...
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28 votes
Accepted

Can I block viruses from a USB stick by scanning it before opening its folder?

Referring to my answer to this question (before it was migrated): No, scanning the drive without "opening the folder" isn't a secure way to protect against viruses on the drive. It's very ...
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28 votes

What is the benefit of having FIPS hardware-level encryption on a drive when you can use Veracrypt instead?

I've contributed to the development of a crypto-related device that was certified to FIPS standards. It's an extensive, expensive certification process that's really only relevant to specific use ...
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  • 1,111
24 votes

How can empty USB sticks contain malware?

USB works like this, AFAIK, note where lies could lead the system astray. Computer supplies +5V and GND to USB device. Microcontroller in the USB device runs and transmits USB-speak for "This is a ...
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24 votes

Allow only specific devices to be connected to USB

On Windows systems, you've been able to block or restrict USB devices through Local or Group Policy since at least Windows Vista. By setting the "Removable Storage Access" policies, you can disable ...
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23 votes

How can USB sticks be dangerous?

These kind of approaches used to work, but due to the high spreading of viruses through pens, the option autorun on operating systems that enabled USBs to run when plugged, was disabled. Before that ...
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23 votes
Accepted

How to safely wipe a USB flash drive

Next time you're about to put sensitive data on a flash drive, consider encrypting it first! Strongly encrypted data is useless without the key, and if you securely erase the drive first, all that ...
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22 votes

What is the benefit of having FIPS hardware-level encryption on a drive when you can use Veracrypt instead?

I think it's a case of paying not for the hardware but for the certification. IronKey devices are actually certified (https://www.ironkey.com/en-US/website/certification-and-compliance.html), and FIPS ...
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  • 4,653
18 votes

Is Bitlocker secure enough for portable storage devices?

There are several possible attacks on Bitlocker, and apparently a software is available to the police that supports recovery of the password (but requires sniffing the RAM while the device is mounted ...
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