3 Ways to Secure Your USB Flash Drives

USB Flash Drive and USB ports were made to transfer information from one device to another in a faster, more efficient way. Unfortunately, whenever there is a worthwhile gadget made for good intentions, there are those who use the technology in order to abuse it.

3 ways

Along with helping organizations big and small, USBs have exposed our desktop and laptop computers to a whole new breed of viruses and malware. Everyday people lose their precious data through malicious infections on their USB drives and possibly even their USB devices as well. Yet we can’t just switch these devices off and never use them again because in this day in age we need USB drives and USB devices to get our work done. So what do we do then?

Here’s an unfortunate, and real situation that could occur: “The viruses are not responding to our antivirus software. We have over 2,000 computer in our network infected thus far and they’ve all shut down. This could take up to 3 months to fix.” Does this sound like a problem your company wants to encounter? Probably not. And yet this year alone, many businesses already have had to.

So how are we supposed to secure these ports from possible virus and malware infection? In this article, we’ll talk about three ways to help you get started.

Software

Many of you probably already thought of this method. People usually say, “hey there’s a software program that’ll take care of that.” And in this case they’re right – there’s actually quite a few I might add. However, a lot of people are under the presumption that you must buy software to secure their USB drives, USB ports and USB gadgets.

They’d be surprised to find out that Microsoft already includes a built-in capability to lock down their USB ports. For more information about this method, please visit the Windows 7 Support Center. Unfortunately, this is an “all or nothing” type solution.

So for those of you that probably need a little more security that what Microsoft alone can offer you, there are software programs available for you to purchase that give you more options for granting and denying access to USB drives, USB ports and USB gadgets.

When you begin searching for the right software to protect your USB drives with, you’ll notice that these programs are very flexible. Most have the function of assigning read only access, read/write capabilities, complete denial or full control to certain USB devices or files.

You can program the software to give access only to certain media, like a keyboard or mouse, but deny everything else. You can grant temporary or scheduled access to some media or file types, and also control which applications users are allowed to transfer to and from removable devices. Most let you assign these setting to a particular user or group name, and apple them to whatever machine that user logs onto. All in all, these software programs are very adaptable, and can be tweaked to fit almost anyone’s needs.

ClamWin Portable is the popular ClamWin antivirus built for USB drives, so you can have a portable antivirus with you to scan and remove harmful malware anywhere. This portable application features high detection rates for both viruses and spyware, along with regular virus database updates for the most thorough scan possible. The ClamAV team regularly updates their virus databases to include any new viruses or variants immediately after they appear.

Hardware

Instead of relying solely on software solutions, (which can sometimes fail to do as promised and may be corrupted to begin with), you could also put a physical solution into effect.

The first thing you can do right off the bat is get a PS2 keyboard and mouse. These gadgets plug into special jacks, not traditional USB ports. By plugging your peripherals into these jacks and avoiding USB port altogether, you leave the option open to use Microsoft’s method of switching the ports off completely, preventing any connection whatsoever. These jacks are found on most computers, but not all, so be sure to check that your equipment has them before you go buying things.

If you can’t get a hold of the keyboard and mouse jacks, or just plain don’t like the idea of getting used to a new mouse, here’s another idea for you. There are locking mechanisms on the market that can trap the cable connecting your key board or mouse to your computer, and keeps it there. You can’t unplug it from the USB port without a physical key. This kind of security might seem a bit archaic for the modern sophistication of computers, but hey, whatever works right?

It’s kind of like a lock on top of a lock when you think about it. Not only does it stop people from plugging into your USB ports, it keeps your peripherals in place as well. Think about it. How can somebody steal a keyboard that they can’t unplug from your tower? If you’re interested in this particular type of lock, check out USB port locks.

Education

The truth is that most computers can be kept virus-free with a little education and common sense. Teach your employees about the dangers of opening questionable files and transferring data between a work computer and personal device. Most people are unaware that viruses can be transported on all sorts of media, even music and picture files. No one wants to be responsible for causing a network crash because they uploaded the latest audio from last night’s episode of The Voice. Let your co-workers know about potential threats, and I’m sure they’ll be eager to help protect themselves and the business.

3 ways to use a USB flash drive with your PS3

Take a look at these 3 ways to use a USB flash drive to do really useful things like transfer saved-game data and media files.

3 ways to use a USB flash drive with your PS3

Like most PS3 owners, you probably use the USB ports on your PlayStation 3 almost exclusively to connect and charge your various gaming accessories, like game controllers and Rock Band instruments. You could also, however, utilize those USB ports to read and write data to a standard USB flash drive.

So what can you really store on a USB from a PlayStation 3? Plug in your USB flash drive and check out these 3 useful ways to pair it with your PS3.

1. Store photos, music, and movies

There are quite a few ways to get photos, music and movies from your computer to your PlayStation 3. You could wirelessly stream it, burn a CD with the data – or use a USB flash drive. Streaming is a pretty good option if you want constant access to your computer’s media library, but often the practice is ruined by lag and a weak WiFi connection.

But if you’d like to playback certain photos, music and movies on your PlayStation 3, use a USB drive. The PS3 supports a wide variety of file types, including DivX, AVI, WMV and MP4. All you have to do is organize the media on you USB drive into folders labeled PICTURES, MUSIC, and VIDEO. Once you plug in the USB drive into your PS3, you’ll see the media in the folders appear in the Cross Media Bar (XMB) under their respective categories.

2. Transfer your Game Saves Data

Maybe you’d like to pick up where a friend left off in Uncharted 3, pr borrow their MLB franchise, or play your game on a friend’s PS3, and it’s all possible with a USB flash drive.

Plug in your USB, and from the Games menu, you to you game saves data. Find the game you want to transfer and select Options. If you don’t see the option, the game more than likely is license protected. But if you do, hit “Copy” and move it to your flash drive. When you plug your USB into any other PS3, you’ll automatically find the game save in the Saved Data Utility.

3. Update your PS3 system

The PlayStation 3 is infamous for its unbearably slow system updates that keep you waiting while a 100MB+ file downloads, then installs at a sloth’s pace. One way you can shorten this incredibly time-consuming task is to take your USB flash drive to work and download the update onto it while you’re there. That way, all you have to do when you get home is plug it into the PS3 and install the update that way.

Go to the PS3 update page online, and download the latest update, and put it in a folder on your USB drive labeled UPDATE. Then, plug it into your PS3 at home. Go to Settings > System Update, and install it from your storage device.

USB Toy 3D/2D Webcam from Thanko

Play, record, and share 3D web videos with this USB toy 3D webcam from Thanko.

USB Toy 3D2D Webcam from Thanko

The Thanko 3D webcam lets you use your messaging programs like Skype, AOL Instant Messenger, ooVoo, Google Voice, and VoxOx in live 3D video!

The latest gadget from Thanko makes it easy to jump on board the popular 3D craze. This 3D/2D web camera uses a USB connection and is able to take pictures in 3D, so you can do video chat with fun 3D effect. Compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 this web camera works on a USB 2.0 connection and features a QVGA (320 x 240) pixels resolution camera with a speed of 15 frames per second (fps).

The camera has two lenses, allowing it to capture the depth in the scene. So you can take still photos, record a video for YouTube or start a web chat with your friends, all in your choice of either 2D or 3D.

We have seen a PC all-in-one from Fujitsu using a 3D webcam but if you want to buy the same, it is expensive. This webcam can also be used as a regular at the 2D resolution, which lets you add fun, interesting frames, animations and special effects to your videos.

This USB toy 3D webcam comes with 6 pairs of traditional red/blue glasses so your friends and family don’t have to buy an expensive 3D monitor to view content transmitted from your end. For a far clearer, crisper image, you could also buy a pair of the Nvidia USB 3D glasses at a relatively moderate price. They work great with this particular webcam and for 3D gaming.

Imagine how fun, memorable, and personal it will be when you video chat in full 3D for the first time. It’s as close to the real thing as you can get.

The USB Toy 3D/2D Webcam from the Japanese company Thanko is currently available from the Japan Trend Shop for ¥11,721 or $145.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 70mm × 74mm × 76mm
  • Weight (body only): 180g
  • OS Requirements: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
  • Power Source: USB Connection
  • Interface: USB 2.0
  • Manufacturer/Model: Thanko 3D/2D Web Camera
  • Power Supply: USB bus power
  • Resolution: 320 x 240 pixels (QVGA)
  • Frame Rate: Maximum 15 fps
  • Accessories: Main body / Red & Blue glasses x6 / Application driver CD
  • Maker Warranty: 6 months from date of purchase