USB Troubleshooting – The Dangers Of Unknown USB Sticks

So, you are walking through the park and you come across a USB stick that’s been left unattended. Do you leave it there or do you pick it up? It turns out, about half of people will not only pick it up but they will put it into their personal computer. Little do they know, they just gave a malicious virus full access to their computer. While they are still USB troubleshooting, someone has already stolen all of their information. Interestingly, most people know not to open a suspicious email, yet for some reason this sinister trick keeps working time after time.

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What Happens

There are three different ways these schemes go down. The first strategy used is malicious macros. When someone opens a file on the USB stick, they are prompted to ‘enable macros’. This setting allows programs to record the keystrokes you make on your computer. The moment you type in a password, that information gets sent off to whoever left the USB. At this point, it is way too late for USB troubleshooting.

The second strategy is called “The Rubber Ducky.” This is even more dangerous than the first technique because it doesn’t require users to open a file. The ‘USB’ that is left behind isn’t a USB at all – it’s a small computer that tricks the host computer into thinking it is a keyboard. This allows hackers to circumvent the prompts that the first technique asks for.

The third and most harmful USB scam is the “Kill Stick.” This causes the ultimate USB troubleshooting issue – once inserted, a USB stick can destroy laptops, kiosks, ATMs, cars and more.  The Kill Stick rapidly draws energy from the USB port and fries the device’s circuits. Regardless of the technique used, these types of scams are harmful and to be avoided at all costs.  

How to Prevent

This may seem like a ‘no-brainer,’  but the best way to avoid these issues is by never picking up the USB in the first place. Another strategy is to make sure you are positive that a given application is safe before opening it. If you have this in mind, you will be able to avoid the first USB stick technique that asks to enable macros. Finally, you should always have powerful antivirus software installed on your computer. Antivirus software can potentially block the viruses from attacking as well as fix your computer if it’s too late. However, you must keep in mind that antivirus software does not guarantee safety.

Why Are So Many Picked Up?

If you already have a strong sense of computer security precautions, you may wonder why so many pick up unattended USB sticks to begin with. The majority claim they did it out of altruism, that they were simply inserting to drive looking for information to identify the rightful owner. The rest thought, “Hey, free USB stick.” It seems that people are more inclined to make computer security mistakes when the source comes from the real world rather than a suspicious email.

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USB Troubleshooting With The Professionals

Are you stuck USB troubleshooting after picking up a random stick? These tech safety tips will only get you so far when it comes to cyber security. For the ultimate protection, get in touch with IT experts. Bay Computing & Consulting Services is a team of highly trained and experienced IT professionals ready to help you out. Our Remote IT Services can solve your tech issues no matter where you are. Whether you are a big business or just a PC owner, we have you covered. Contact us today!

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