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Hasta la vista, baby: remote kill terminates data on lost or stolen USBs

17 August 2012

While remote wipe/kill is a technique often used to protect sensitive data on lost or stolen smartphones and tablets, it can also be used for USB devices, explained Scott Ashdown, director of products and solutions in Imation's Mobile Security Group.

“The biggest threat posed by USBs is data leakage, loss, and/or theft, where data is leaving some secure location and being physically carried away from that location”, explained Ashdown.

“There are different ways this can happen. This can be someone stealing data, or this can be somebody who put data on a device, took the device home with them, and left the device on a bus or subway”, he told Infosecurity.

To prevent data loss, organizations need to apply security measures to these devices. These measures can include encrypting the data and requiring user authentication to access the device, he explained.

However, encryption can be broken and user authentication measures can be bypassed. So being able to wipe these devices if they are lost or stolen is an additional security measure that can be used to safeguard sensitive corporate information, Ashdown said.

Imation provides USB devices that have remote kill/wipe capability, he said. “High security customers want the remote kill to know that the device is no longer usable”, he explained.

“Remote kill is an effective tool to allow an IT department to kill the device and prevent access to it even from the normally authorized user”, Ashdown said. This helps thwart the insider threat, he noted.

Imation offers remote kill capability that can destroy the data and the root key on the USB device, rendering the device useless. The company also offers the ability to lock access to the device, but also to retrieve the data at a later point, he said.


This article is featured in:
Data Loss  •  Encryption  •  Identity and Access Management  •  Malware and Hardware Security


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