Misplaced USB memory stick contained classified information

January 15, 2008 19:16 by pavritch

 I'm constantly warning people about the need to protect the data they carry around on their memory sticks (aka flash drives, thumb drives, pen drives, jump drives). These tiny little devices are certainly convenient and they can hold a lot of data.

Just this past week it was reported that a member of the Swedish Armed Forces left a memory stick containing classified documents plugged into a public computer in the middle of a busy computer center where anyone could have picked it up. Fortunately, it seems the stick was found and made its way back to the authorities, but why wasn't the data on this flash disk encrypted?

Am I allowed to say "Should have been using SafeHouse." I will, and they should have. Memory sticks are becoming increasingly popular. Many of us have one - or even two or three of them. But if you're keeping sensitive information on them, then at least be responsible about it and use some form of advanced protection or encryption.

What makes memory sticks so vulnerable is that they're so small. I honestly don't know what percentage of them get lost, but if it's anything like my pens or my socks, I would have to imagine it's quite a few. And since these things are so inexpensive, I don't think very many people would get all worked up about the cost of a lost device, but thinking that somebody might have found your financial information or darkest secrets would absolutely keep you up for nights on end.


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