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Removable Drives - New Vectors for Malware Distribution in India

According to Trend Micro, removable drives such as USBs (Universal Serial Bus), pen drives and thumb drives are the latest vectors for malware distribution in India. Correspondingly, infected drives disseminated about 39% of the overall Internet threats across the country. They also tried to expose confidential information and steal valuable data.

Trend Micro also state that the total number of infection from removable drives within the APAC (Asia-Pacific) region stands at 31% compared to the worldwide rate, which represent a single digit figure.

Greg Boyle, Regional Product Marketing Manager for APAC Small and Mid-sized, Trend Micro, states that the trend of infection through removable media is very common in the Indian region. According to him, although it is most prevalent worldwide, within the Asia-Pacific countries particularly in India, removable drives are really one of the fastest distributors of malware, as reported by Business Standard on May 7, 2009.

Moreover, a number of malicious applications that spread simply by copying themselves on the drives inserted into the users' PC. Since USB devices can be carried from one PC to another, attackers who are not always able to physically access certain computers can plug one such device into these computers to later access them remotely.

Meanwhile, security specialists state that consumer information such as credit card details along with intellectual property constitutes the prime zones for theft. According to Boyle, with the economic meltdown and the consequent staff retrenchment and layoffs, employees are easily found to leak data to companies they freshly join.

Besides, a majority of data theft takes place in the BFSI (Banking, Financial Services and Insurance) sector. However, manufacturing and medical research are the fresh additions as these sector possess valuable and costly templates, intellectual property and patents.

Thus, for prevention, Boyle suggests that organizations must strictly bar the use of USBs for data transmission without prior permission. Additionally, updating antivirus software is must.

Furthermore, users should disable the AutoRun facility for USB devices, while awareness regarding USBs' drawbacks should be raised to mitigate related threats.

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