Removable Media

Training Modules

Preview image

    Removable media includes USB drives, CDs and personal devices such as phones, cameras and tablets. This interactive module covers two key areas of focus: safe use of removable media for legitimate purposes, and types of attacks hackers launch from “lost” removable media.


    • 6:55 Minutes


    • Physical Security & Hardware



    • All
  • Transcript
    • Slide 1

      This security awareness training covers the safe use of removable media such as DVDs and thumb drives.

      Slide 2

      Removable media is a term for computer storage that is often but not always available to your computer. Removable media can also be connected to other computers. You might plug removable media into your computer, insert it into a disk drive, connect to it with a cable, or connect to it over a network.

      In the past “removable media” most often referred to floppy disks and CDs. Today it mainly refers to USB drives, including small “thumb drives” and large “external hard drives.”

      In fact, USB has become so popular that many devices now act like USB drives. These include cameras, cell phones, tablets and thousands of other devices that can be accessed like a folder when you plug them into your computer.

      Slide 3

      Today we will learn how to avoid malware transmitted through removable media, and how to use encryption with removable media to safely store and transmit files.

      We just learned that removable media can be connected to different computers. Unfortunately, the same feature that conveniently transmits files between computers often also transmits viruses and other malware.

      Sometimes the transmission of malware is accidental, as from one virus-infested computer to another. Other times it is intentional. Hackers often “lose” an infected USB drive near an organization’s headquarters. Employees who find these drives often insert them into their own computers, quickly infecting their machines and their network.

      Fortunately, defending against infected media can be easy. First, continue to run antivirus on your computers and devices. Antivirus software knows how to look for and prevent malware from traveling on removable media.

      Which of the items below know how to look for and prevent malware from traveling on removable media? Select the correct item to complete the sentence.

      That’s right!

      Antivirus software knows how to look for and prevent malware from traveling on removable media.

      Sorry, but USB Drives is incorrect.

      Please try again.

      Sorry, but Mac Finder is incorrect.

      Please try again.

      Slide 4

      Second, never just plug a “lost” USB drive or CD into your computer. These devices can be and often are infected with malware that can damage your computer and infect your network. Instead, you should give all removable media from unknown sources to your IT department for safe inspection or disposal.

      Of course, removable media is more than a conduit for malware. In fact, there are several legitimate uses of removable media that actually enhance security.

      First, backing up key files and data to removable media such as USB drives, DVDs, CDs and tape has long been a best practice. If hackers or other disaster strikes, this best practice will allow you to get back to work quickly.

      However, when you use removable media for backups, remember to secure your backups in secure locations. Safe locations include locked drawers, safes, and restricted-access rooms.

      Slide 5

      The one defense you have against loss or theft is the use of encryption. Only encryption will prevent someone in possession of your removable media from reading your data.

      Encryption can be applied on individual files with programs. It can either be part of the file save process, or separate file encryption software can be used instead.

      Alternatively, encryption can be applied to all files saved to certain kinds of removable media.

      Devices that automatically apply encryption are known as encrypted devices or encrypted drives and are a popular and secure alternative to ordinary removable media.

      Slide 6

      Your organization may already have a policy about the use and disposal of removable media. This policy may prohibit the use of removable media or require encryption with certain data. It may also tell you exactly how lost removable should be reported, and how to dispose of old or broken media.

      In the past few minutes, we learned about how to avoid infection from removable media by using antivirus and avoiding devices we quote-unquote find. We also learned how to use encryption to protect the files we save to removable media from falling into the wrong hands. Please take a moment to review these takeaways, and then click “continue” to complete the module.