Working securely with USB flash drives: 3 tips

by JohanDid you know...28/11/2017

Working securely with USB flash drives: 3 tips
USB flash drives have become so commonplace that we barely think about it when we use them. Nevertheless, there are a few tips that we would like to give you to work securely and smartly with these handy little gadgets.

  1. Why remove securely?

    A lot of people don’t think it’s necessary, but it is a good idea to ‘disconnect’ a USB flash drive in Windows or MacOS before you take it out of the computer. In MacOS you do so by dragging it to the recycle bin, in Windows by right-clicking in Explorer and selecting ‘Eject’.

    There are not usually any problems if you do not do this, but if you remove the flash drive just as data are being written to it, there is a chance that you will not be able to read it next time. So a little effort can save a great deal of frustration.

  2. Protect your data by encryption

    USB flash drives are fairly small. It is really not difficult to lose them. Of course, you don’t want that to happen if they contain very important (company) data. So protect sensitive data by encrypting them. With a small program such as Bitlocker from Windows, Rohos Mini Drive or USB Safeguard, this is a piece of cake: it ensures that the data on the flash drive can only be read if you enter the correct password.

    On MacOS, you don’t even have to install any extra software. In Finder, click on the USB flash drive and keep the Control key pressed down at the same time. In the menu that appears, you can opt to encrypt the flash drive and protect it with a password. One warning, however (and this applies for Windows, too): make sure you have a good password that you can remember, because otherwise you will not be able to access your files again.

  3. Don’t give viruses a chance

    Just like an ordinary hard drive, a USB flash drive can be infected with a virus. This is potentially very dangerous as you may use your flash drive on various computers, which could all then be affected.

    As we have already said, many computers block programs that try to start up from a USB flash drive but smart hackers have now found a way round that. Fortunately, most antivirus programs, such as Norton Security, automatically scan USB flash drives as soon as you plug them in.

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