USB Drives 2022: Dangers of USB Drives in Your Computer

USB drivers might be useful for storing vital files. However, there are times when it poses a risk to your computer, especially if you don’t know where it has previously been used.

The risks that your computer may encounter if you are not cautious when using USB drives are listed below.

The Spread of Malware

One of the most common threats posed by a USB drive is malware. The infection of malware in your computer can be intentional and unintentional, depending on the malware in question, according to HowtoGeek.

The most famous example of malware caused by a USB drive is the Stuxnet.worm, which was discovered back in 2010. This malware targeted four zero-day exploits in Windows 2000 to Windows 7 and caused 20% of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges.

Since the facilities were not accessible through the internet, the malware is believed to have been caused by a USB device.

A worm is an example of malware that self-replicates and spreads in this manner.

The USB drives can also disseminate other types of security threats such as remote access trojans which gives an attack the control of the victim, keyloggers which monitor the keystrokes of the victim to steal their credentials, and ransomware which demands money in exchange for access to the victim’s data.

Ransomware is an increasing problem among businesses and security agencies, and attacks that involve USB Drives are not unheard of.

In early 2022, the FBI released details about the FIN7 group who were mailing USB Drives to several companies in the United States, according to ZDNet.

The group tried to impersonate the US Department of Health and Human Services by including the USB devices with letters including COVID-19 guidelines and also sent some infected USB drives out in Amazon gift boxes with gift cards and thank you notes.

In the attack, the USB drives presented themselves to the victim’s computer like keyboards, sending keystrokes that executed PowerShell commands.

The FBI reported that the FIN7 group was able to get administrative access to certain target machines.

USB Drives

Fry Up Your Computer

While malware delivered by USB Drives poses a real threat to your computer and privacy, there is an even greater threat in the form of USB Killers. This can even physically damage your computer, according to TechTargets.

These devices created chaos in the mid-2010s, with the most famous case being the USBKill which is on its fourth iteration at the time.

The device discharges power into whatever computer it is plugged into, causing permanent damage. Unlike a software attack, a USB Killer is created to damage the computer’s hardware.

Data recovery from drives is still possible, but components such as the motherboard and USB controller will no longer be useful. USBKill claims that 95% of computers are vulnerable to these types of attacks.

Dealing With Dangerous USB Devices

The best way to keep your devices, especially your computer, safe from harm is to scrutinize every device that you connect to it.

If you do not know where the USB Drive came from, it is best not to touch it. Make sure that what you have is always brand new and that you purchased the stick yourself.

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