Friday, August 27, 2010

Remember Infected Floppies? Now They're USB Devices

Remember the good old days when you could get virus infections through infected floppy disks? That was long before there was a Web, or an Internet, available to the average person. Well, now, those infected floppies, tossed away long ago in the trash, have been replaced by USB devices, according to Computer World.

Quoting the 2nd International Security Barometer report from Panda Security, a quarter of worm infections are spread through portable storage devices. The study of 10,000 small- and medium-sized businesses said 27% of attacks by malware were found to have originated from USB devices.

Among those victimized by USB-laden malware have been the U.S. military, which was hit when an infected USB drive was plugged into the U.S. Central Command's (CENTCOM) network, which is the regional command for the Middle East, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

Another USB thumb drive loaded with W32.SillyFDC, a low-risk worm, burrowed into both classified and non-classified military networks in 2008, in what is being described as the most significant breach of U.S. military computers.

In the private sector, the Stuxnet worm, which was aimed at PCs used in large-scale industrial control networks, was discovered in July to have also been spread by USB drives, according to a report from Computer World.

Protection can be found using Panda USB Vaccine, a free download for preventing infections on USB devices.