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How to Prevent Portable Media Cyber Threats

Critical digital assets are often isolated from external networks, leading portable media to become a primary vector for cyberattacks. This type of media involves everything from USBs to floppy disks, memory cards to mobile devices. In many facilities, this is the only way to transport files to and from critical networks, extra attention must be placed on securing the devices that are brought in and out of a critical environment.

How to Balance Cybersecurity Risk Mitigation with Operational Efficiency and Cost

Many believe that improvements in cybersecurity posture rarely come without a corresponding increase in operating costs and a decrease in operational flexibility. However, this is not always the case. Strong documentation and cybersecurity policies can go a long way in creating a culture of cybersecurity within your organization. When making risk mitigation decisions, most organizations focus on the lowest hanging fruit: the biggest reductions in risk that can be obtained at the lowest cost. Often, enhancing protection for portable media rises to the top as USB and removable media devices pose a large threat to critical networks. We have outlined below how organizations can get started.

  • Define Acceptable Media and Content: Most industrial facilities do not allow their critical network and assets to connect to the broader internet. Using portable media is an easy way to maintain productivity and convenience for anyone who needs to move files and data. However, these devices can also serve as a transfer point for malware and intellectual property. Organizations can mitigate these threats by clearly defining what media is allowed, how it is to be used and training employees and visitors on acceptable use. These policies should touch on portable media types, file types, and content.
  • Implement Solutions for Securing Portable Media: A proven practice for securing portable media involves placing kiosks at key check points of secure facilities to enforce policies requiring all portable media from employees and contractors to be scanned, sanitized, and approved prior to use. Depending on your needs, another popular solution is to connect a kiosk to a file vault with unidirectional security gateways, moving files from the incoming USB drive into the secure environment. Files are scanned and sanitized prior to the transfer. Additional components can be added to further enhance the removable media security solution, a “closed-loop” control on endpoints or other means, can enforce that no media or file is used without first being sanitized and approved by the kiosk.
  • Invest in a Solution That Meets Your Needs: Selecting the right removable media security solution designed to fit your operational needs is paramount to ensuring you get the most out of its implementation. Security tools should efficiently enable your teams, not create headaches. For instance: do you want to securely transfer files from removable media to a secure location? Do you need protection from removable media threats on the go? A mobile kiosk is designed to handle that, and in some cases, even in harsh or extreme environments. The last thing you want to do is take the plunge on an ill-fitting solution that's more of a financial pitfall than it is a long-term security asset.

OPSWAT Solutions

OPSWAT’s MetaDefender Kiosk, Vault, Drive, and USB Firewall support a wide range of use cases and manage portable media security. Read our whitepaper to learn more about how to secure portable media in critical environments and the benefits of OPSWAT’s portable media security solutions.

White paper: Preventing Cyber Attacks with Zero-Trust Solutions for Portable Media Security

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