The perils/dangers of USB sticks are highlighted by two news stories in the last few days.
First, Greater Manchester Police have been embarrassed by an unencrypted USB stick that was “found lying in the street” which the public spirited citizen who “found” it passed on to the responsible authorities (aka The Daily Star on Sunday). Apparently, the USB stick contained “2,000 pages of highly-sensitive and confidential information” including material “on countering the threat of terrorism on British streets include strategies for acid and petrol bomb attacks, blast control training and the use of batons and shields.”
Of course, it is entirely natural that, if you find something outside a police station, emblazoned with the logo of Greater Manchester Police, the first thing you do is take it home and plug it into your laptop. And then when you realise how sensitive it is you decide not to return it to the Police but give it to a tabloid newspaper. This public-spirited citizen was so confident of the correctness of his actions that he “asked the Daily Star Sunday to withhold his identity because he feared reprisals”.
Meanwhile in India, the Times of India reports:
“Even as Chinese and Pakistani online espionage agents continue their attempts to hack into Indian computer systems, hostile intelligence agencies are also trying to steal defence secrets through use of computer storage media (CSM) devices like pen drives, removable hard disks, CDs, VCDs and the like.
The Intelligence Bureau has sounded a red alert about “intelligence officers of a hostile country” encouraging their “assets” working in Indian defence establishments to use CSM devices to pilfer classified information from computer networks.”
It looks as though the Chinese and Pakistani intelligence agencies are wasting a lot of effort – all they need is to get a few Mancunian businessmen and the Daily Star onside and they will have all the information they need …