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Malware on Removable Devices Nearly Doubles

According to a new report, malware being delivered via removable media, such as USB drives, nearly doubled last year.

The 2021 Honeywell Industrial USB Threat Report found that some 37 percent of threats were designed to take advantage of removable media. Of those, according to the report, 79 percent could cause “significant disruption” to operations.

The report noted that USB usage was up 30 percent during 2020. Almost a third of threats were trojans. Slightly more than half of threats established remote access.

"USB-borne malware was a serious and expanding business risk in 2020, with clear indications that removable media has become part of the playbook used by attackers, including those that employ ransomware," said Eric Knapp, engineering fellow and director of cybersecurity research for Honeywell Connected Enterprise, in a prepared statement. "Because USB-borne cyber intrusions have become so effective, organizations must adopt a formal program that addresses removable media and protects against intrusions to avoid potentially costly downtime."

The full report is freely available on the Honeywell site.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .

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