Beware of USB Drives – June Alert

In Cyber Alert by Justin Dauley


– Month of June 2017 –

Beware of USB Drives

Emails from unknown senders can put our security and privacy at risk. While these threats are easy to avoid, hackers are constantly developing new methods to invade our computers and steal information that are not so easy to detect. One method has become increasingly popular due to its effectiveness in gaining access to our computers – hackers will load a USB drive with malicious software and drop it in a public area. An unknowing person picks it up, hoping that they can return it to its owner. When they go to plug the drive into their computer at home or work, they open files that infect their machines with viruses or malware.

Not only are dropped USB drives potentially dangerous to your computer, but even new USB drives can be a threat. Exemplified most recently by malware found in the disk initialization USB drives that came with a new line of IBM Storwize disk racks, the malware hidden in the IBM USB drives copies itself from a temporary file into whichever computer the drive connects. While it is unknown how the malware got onto the IBM USB drives, the company has since taken measures to ensure that customers are safe from the problem. Without proper antivirus software and security protection, this malware can be extremely dangerous to a computer and the files in it.

We recommend leaving any USB drive found in public where it is, or returning it to a nearby business in case the owner returns looking for it. When plugging in a USB drive we recommend always scanning its contents with antivirus software before opening it. If you are not prompted to do so after plugging it in, right-clicking the USB drive in My Computer should list the option for doing so (for Windows users). These practices will help keep your computer secure from the array of viruses and malware that exist today.



“IBM Shipped USB Drives Filled With Malware to Customers”. Motherboard. N. p., 2017. Web. 8 May 2017.

Tripwire, Inc. “Does Dropping Malicious USB Sticks Really Work? Yes, Worryingly Well…” The State of Security. N. p., 2016. Web. 8 May 2017.


For more tips and information on cybersecurity and what you can do to protect your information, feel free to visit the AVATAR Blog. Here we post articles on a variety of technology topics and list Cyber Alerts from past months.

If your business has any security concerns or IT needs, please contact AVATAR Computing at 508.926.8673 or email us at We would be happy to help!

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