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Hackers Using USB Keys to Run Their Business

These days, the hackers have turned to various techniques, other than mail, like USB keys and web-based malware to leak out information and make money, as per Sophos. USB devices and devices such as MP3 player are often connected to PC to spread out the infection within a short span of time.

A report by Sophos has analyzed that there was a shift in the spread of malware through removable devices in the first half of 2007. Now the cyber criminals make use of USB memory sticks in place of the floppy disk, which were used in the early 1990s.

Graham Titterington of analyst firm Ovum said that since the typical web filtering technologies will not be able to detect infection via USB, it demands more security from starting till the end. He also claimed that the volume and speed in which the USB operates when connected make it quite potent, but still, it's a comparatively cumbersome mode of infection. He also said that it will only prove beneficial for targeted attacks and not for mass mailers, as per the by Itweek on July 25, 2007.

By accessing this method, hackers took advantage of those users who have enabled the option of "auto-run" on their PCs so that it automatically starts operating as soon as the stick has been connected to the system. For instance, in the last week of June 2007, a worm was spread using the name of Harry Potter book and film through USB devices. Another example in 2007 was when LiarVB-A worm tried to spread information about AIDS and HIV via USB.

As per the reports of Net-security on July 25, 2007, senior technology consultant at Sophos, Graham Cluley, said that USB sticks are a major concern because they are always produced in great quantity and are cheap, so they have become a perfect alternative for the departments of marketing to swap prizes for sales leads. He advised all the users that they must be alert while purchasing unknown drives even from a renowned shop, as they never know what they are connecting to their PCs.

Instead of the fact that web-based threat is still considered to be one of the top 10 threats examined in 2007, the emergence of portable devices has not gone unnoticed by malware authors.

Related article: Hackers Redirect Windows Live Search to Malicious Sites

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