The Increasing Prevalence of USB Drives
The ever-increasing prevalence of USB drives is causing problems. It is not just promotional jump drives that are spreading like wildfire but a virus is spreading with them. Specific hotbeds of virus infection are university campuses. With the ease of portability of memory sticks and the plug-in-and-play nature students find this the most convenient way to transfer their work. Nevertheless, this fluid transport of computer data has caused over 500 incidents reported in just 13 universities, this being half of the 27 universities approached for this research. One of the major contributing factors to the virus attacks has been that many university anti-virus safety networks haven't been updated after being installed leading to them being unable to prevent this virus from infecting their computers. It is worrying that thumb drives can carry viruses but it is more worrying that if university computers can be infected then individual computers must also be in danger.
The solution is not preventing the application of branded USB flash drives. This will not and should not happen. As students and others become aware of the risk of using USB devices virus infections will reduce whilst computer administrators will take more care in protecting their networks. Using USB drives is a fantastically easy and efficient way to transport computer data and with the price of USB drives continuing to fall they are here to stay and consequently we will only be seeing an increase in prevalence of flash drives.
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