Yet Another "People Plug in Strange USB Sticks" Story
I'm really getting tired of stories like this:
Computer disks and USB sticks were dropped in parking lots of government buildings and private contractors, and 60% of the people who picked them up plugged the devices into office computers. And if the drive or CD had an official logo on it, 90% were installed.
Of course people plugged in USB sticks and computer disks. It's like "75% of people who picked up a discarded newspaper on the bus read it." What else are people supposed to do with them?
And this is not the right response:
Mark Rasch, director of network security and privacy consulting for Falls Church, Virginia-based Computer Sciences Corp., told Bloomberg: "There's no device known to mankind that will prevent people from being idiots."
Maybe it would be the right response if 60% of people tried to play the USB sticks like ocarinas, or tried to make omelettes out of the computer disks. But not if they plugged them into their computers. That's what they're for.
People get USB sticks all the time. The problem isn't that people are idiots, that they should know that a USB stick found on the street is automatically bad and a USB stick given away at a trade show is automatically good. The problem is that the OS trusts random USB sticks. The problem is that the OS will automatically run a program that can install malware from a USB stick. The problem is that it isn't safe to plug a USB stick into a computer.
Quit blaming the victim. They're just trying to get by.
EDITED TO ADD (7/4): As of February of this year, Windows no longer supports AutoRun for USB drives.
Posted on June 29, 2011 at 9:13 AM • 193 Comments