USB sticks threaten companies´ electronic data processing systems

The entrepreneurial magazine Markt und Mittelstand in his January 2006 edition has drawn an alarming conclusion. According to the magazine the potential of USB sticks, MP3 players and mobile phones to damage sensible company data were underestimated.

To blame is the concept of comfortable Plug and Play (not Universal Plug and Play) which leads to hardware being automatically identified when connecting it to the computer. In addition, data may be easily exchanged via this feature. Spies having unhindered access to such an USB interface could easily save e.g. „entire product developments” and bring them out of the company. In the same way viruses and bugged software may be brought in. But also Bluetooth, Firewire, WLAN and other recent types of access onto cost-efficient and easily exchangeable periphery devices are said to be dangerous. „Companies should become aware of the fact that two thirds of all attacks on a company’s data processing system are inside jobs”, says Manfred Maier, managing director of the Stuttgart-based StarTech Competence Center GmbH. 76 percent of 400 companies had not set up rules controlling the use of private players and data carriers, as the problem is put in concrete terms by the market researcher MeetBiz-Research & Denkfabrik GmbH GERMAN