Everyone uses USB flash drives (a/k/a thumb drives) to store and share information. Consumers rely upon anti-virus software to scan and detect any computer viruses infecting USB drives. According to a Wired report, researchers have created a proof-of-concept demonstrating the difficulty -- or impossibility -- to detect and remove malware from USB devices:
"... researchers Karsten Nohl and Jakob Lell plan to present next week, demonstrating a collection of proof-of-concept malicious software that highlights how the security of USB devices has long been fundamentally broken... Any time a USB stick is plugged into a computer, its firmware could be reprogrammed by malware on that PC, with no easy way for the USB device’s owner to detect it... The malware they created, called BadUSB, can be installed on a USB device to completely take over a PC, invisibly alter files installed from the memory stick, or even redirect the user’s internet traffic..."
A wide variety of devices employ USB technology: mice, keyboards, desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and more. Experts advise consumers to:
- Purchase USB sticks and devices only from reputable, trusted retailers,
- View any USB sticks or devices you receive from untrusted sources, or people, as infected, and
- Don't insert USB sticks and devices into untrusted computers or devices.
What are your opinions of USB sticks? USB security?