UK Firms Face Threat From Self-Activating USB Data Drain

By | June 27, 2006

A new breed of USB trojan, which can automatically remove critical data from a PC or network is being exposed today at the IDG Endpoint Security show in London. Slurp.exe 2.0 can copy and remove sensitive information from a network within minutes, by being inserted into a USB port. Centennial Software is warning that a new breed of smart U3 USB devices, which activate viruses of this kind, will pose the biggest threat ever seen to businesses from removable media devices.

Security industry veteran Abe Usher, who has been working with IT security professionals for over ten years to combat emerging threats, created Slurp.exe 2.0, a new version of data theft tool slurp.exe, specifically to run on U3 USB devices. Capable of copying thousands of document files from a computer to a USB drive in less than two minutes, the trojan-style programme from IT consultancy Sharp Ideas demonstrates the data theft threat posed by U3 USB drives. Usher, the founder of Sharp Ideas LLC, has worked with Centennial since using the company’s DeviceWall to test the original version of Slurp.exe launched in February this year. The software defeated the new iteration of the programme, reinforcing the alliance between Centennial and Usher.

As the data theft risks posed by removable media continue to evolve with technological developments, many organisations have not yet recognised the threat posed by the influx of removable media in the workplace. Research[1] from Centennial found that three quarters of security professionals do not believe that portable devices represent a significant security risk.

“As tales of high profile security breaches such as the 26.5 million US war veterans’ personal details and account details of 243,000 Hotels.com customers continue to dominate the headlines there’s no doubt that data theft has become a major for concern across the globe,” said Abe Usher. “Centennial DeviceWall proved to be a foolproof way to prevent the inappropriate use of portable devices in a network environment. It was very easy to set up and once running, completely blocked devices running Slurp.exe 2.0.”

“Organisations cannot afford to ignore the security risks associated with removable media,” said Andy Burton, CEO of Centennial Software. “No doubt individuals with ill-intent will seek to capitalise on the opportunity while security professionals play catch up. Rather than announcing an outright ban on removable media which in most cases would prove counter-productive, organisations should seek software tools to automatically control how these are used within the workplace.”

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