Posts Tagged ‘thumb drive’

Block the USB Autorun Feature and Prevent Future Problems

With all of the news about hackers, virus writers, etc, using USB drives, or thumb drive, to install malicious code on unsuspecting users machines, I thought I would post a quick and easy way for anyone to disable the autorun, or autoplay, feature on their computers that have USB ports. This is not only a good idea on that it can save you from seeing the same old screens all the time, it will block against it automatically installing programs, malware, etc, on your computer. Itelliadmin has a great little program that you can run to turn it off or back on if needed, USB Drive Disabler – enable or disable USB drives on your Windows 2000, 2003, or XP systems or you can use USB Remote Drive Disabler – same capabilities as USB Drive Disabler only you can do it across your LAN.

If you don’t want to download and run a free utility, here is a page that tells you step by step how to do it on your machine, How to disable Autoplay, but this method disables the autoplay on both your CD Rom drives and USB drives. This method would have the benefit of blocking some CD’s from installing the DRM, like from the Sony fiasco, but it would not automatically play music cd’s on installation programs.

As an example of what can happen when you allow the autoplay to run on USB drives, there is a new worm making the rounds that uses a method of infection that was last seen in the early 1990′s, ah, the good old days. The only difference in this worm is it uses the USB drive and not a floppy drive, Sophos has decided to call this worm the SillyFD-AA worm, and once it is on a USB drive it bypasses network security and runs when the drive is plugged in.

“With USB keys becoming so cheap, they are increasingly being given away at tradeshows and in direct mailshots.,” said Sophos’s security guru, Graham Cluley. “With a significant rise in financially motivated malware it could be an obvious backdoor into a company for criminals bent on targeting a specific business with their malicious code.”

“In this example, changing the title of the Internet Explorer browser indicates that this particular variant of the worm has not been written with completely clandestine intentions. A savvier internet criminal would have not made it so obvious that the PC has been broken into, but silently steal from the PC without leaving such an obvious clue,” he said.

In recent times, USB drives have become corporate enemy number one. They can be used to steal data without attracting attention, to host malware of various sorts, and ruin the best-laid but unsuspecting compliance regimes. Source: Retro worm sniffs out USB drives

So if the title in your copy of Internet Explorer says Hacked by 1BYTE, you have been infected. At least they are nice enough to tell us they have done it, the next?s guys will not be so accommodating.

There have been many other stories involving thumb drives lately, like Hackers Using USB Drives to Spread Banking Malware, where they left USB drives in a London car park in hopes that users will carry them home and insert them into a USB drive, infecting their computers with the malware they have created to steal login id?s and password to the users online banks, or this one, Social Engineering, the USB Way, where a security company was testing bank employees and left thumb drives in the smoking areas, outside the bank etc, and 75% of them got inserted into a machine and were sending back info to the security team, in which they could use to compromise additional systems.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - May 14, 2007 at 3:13 am

Categories: Security   Tags: , , , ,

Add Readyboost Devices to Your Windows Vista Installation

I’ve posted about Windows Readyboost before, the new feature in Windows Vista that allows you to use USB flash memory to speed up disk reads and writes, while there are motherboards already coming out with this flash memory built in, I bet lots of people are tired of a USB drive hanging off of their PC. Here are a couple devices that you can add to your desktop computer that will allow you to add the flash memory without having to have your USB drive hanging out of the front of your computer. From Channel 10:

You’ve probably seen by now that Windows Vista can be kicked up a notch by using a USB drive to help extend memory and cut the amount of time it takes for your computer to come back from sleep mode. But who wants a USB drive hanging off of their computer and taking up a precious external USB slot? New options are starting to show up to solve this. You may recall the ASUS motherboard that I mentioned in February that comes with Readyboost memory already on the board. Source: ReadyBoost Inside

The devices they are talking about are pretty cool, Innodisk’s Readyboost memory plugs into the USB pin connectors on your motherboard, and save that precious USB port for something else.

Currently there is a large offer of Ready Boost drives but one that will surely get anyone?s attention are InnoDisk’s new internal drives. Instead of taking up one precious USB port, the drives in question will simply connect to the motherboard’s USB pin connectors.

InnoDisk’s Ready Boost Memory comes in 2GB and 4GB flavors and although the are not the fastest drives out there with their 3MB/s for 512KB random read/write and 5MB/s for 4KB, price tags are set to be very attractive – $15 for the 2GB drive. Source: InnoDisk releases internal Ready Boost flash drives

The USB Header Adapter also plugs into one of the USB headers on the motherboard, and you can just plug your thumb drive into it, so if you already have a drive you can use, you can simply buy this header adapter for only $9 dollars and be ready to go.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - April 15, 2007 at 2:45 pm

Categories: Windows Vista   Tags: , , , ,

1GB Gizmo Thumb Drive Only $11.99

1GB Gizmo! Overdrive
Save with sweet new rebates at Crucial! Only $11.99 for a 1GB Gizmo! Overdrive
Buy a 1GB Gizmo! Overdrive (part# CT1GBUFDWHTH00) at for $24.99 or less, currently showing $21.99, between 2/22/07 and 3/8/07, and we’ll send you 10 bucks back by mail. Spend over $40 and you’ll get Free Shipping as well!

Standard Features:
Write speed up to 13MB/s (80X)
Read speed up to 25MB/s (160X)
USB 2.0 flash drive
Dual-channel controller for high-performance data transfer
Small form factor ? 64 mm by 20 mm (68 mm by 20 mm with cap)
Rapidly flashing LED light indicates when data is transferring
Plug and Play ? no drivers needed

The Crucial Gizmo! USB thumb drive is a miniature, portable flash storage device that plugs into your computer’s USB port. This thumb drive can store any kind of file on them, digital documents, music, movies, and photographs and more. About the size and weight of a pack of gum, the Gizmo! drive slips easily into your pocket, purse, or briefcase. The Gizmo! drive is a full-speed device, compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1 ports. A true Plug and Play solution, the Gizmo! drive automatically appears as a removable drive when plugged in to the USB port of your computer.

1GB Gizmo! Overdrive $10 Rebate Rebate form is here.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - February 23, 2007 at 3:02 am

Categories: Computer Deals   Tags: , ,

Hybrid Hard Drives and Windows Vista

If you have used your computer for any length of time, then you’ve probably already guessed that the hard drive is the slowest component in your system. I’ve been waiting for the day when we have hard drives that are faster, lots faster, has that day arrived, well, yes and no. Tom’s Hardware has reviewed Samsung’s 32 GB Flash Drive and it looks like it could be very useful, even if it’s not ready for prime time. You can add this flash drive to your system and you can create hybrid hard drives, which allows Windows Vista to prioritize data accross the hard drive and flash drive to help cut down waiting times on data access.

Windows Vista has two new, related features, one is called Windows ReadyBoost, and it allows you to add flash storage, such as this flash drive or a usb thumb drive, and because Windows can retrieve data more quickly, it can really improve system performance, and the data is encrypted when the device is removed to prevent access by others.

The second feature is called Windows ReadyDrive and combined with the flash drive will allow your computer to boot up faster, resume from hibernate in less time, preserve battery power, and improve hard disk reliability. You can store your operating system files and swap file on the flash drive and cut your boot time in half, if their review is any indication.

Samsung has released mobile computers based upon its Solid State Flash hard drives into the Korean market as of early June. The Q30 laptop generates as little as ~30 db(A) of noise, while the Q1 portable runs totally silent and according to Samsung both boot Windows XP 25-50% faster than systems featuring traditional hard drives. Considering that both system run on conventional Pentium M / Centrino hardware, their respective MSRPs of $3,700 and $2,430 seem a little pricey.

As a stand-alone purchase it would wise to utilize the fast file access as a location for your operating system and swap files, and distribute file/system access between existing drives. Integrated features of the drive also let users easily take advantage of Vista’s new ReadyBoost/Superfetch features. The power consumption and physical sturdiness of the unit indicate strong inclinations toward mobile use and should allow for the manufacture of products with longer battery life, increased durability and reduced weight as well as decreasing boot times. Non-volatile, large capacity Flash based SSD is a fantastic idea whose time has almost come.

It’s a great review, click here and check out all of the comparisons with regular hard drives, suffering mainly in bandwidth limitations due to the interface, one of these drives could boost your system performance greatly.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - September 25, 2006 at 2:40 am

Categories: Hardware, Reviews, Windows Vista   Tags: , , , , ,