FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Friday, June 24, 2005

"Pod Slurping" the Latest Security Threat

Security-conscious companies and users have known about the potential threats from unsecured USB ports for some time. Now, the practice of "pod slurping" has caught the attention of Gartner analysts and bloggers who cover security issues.

Pod slurping is a simple and effective way to steal data off of unsecured PCs. Anyone with an iPod or any other USB device that can hold data (thumb drive, digital camera, PDA, smart phone) can simply connect it to a PC or laptop and do a simple data transfer. With unsecured Bluetooth connections, the process is even simpler; the thief doesn't even have to touch the device. One blogger has noted that a janitor working after hours, largely unsupervised, could easily pod slurp unsuspected.

Some security specialists recommend that companies ban iPods and similar storage devices from the workplace. Aside from treating employees like criminals, such a policy wouldn't deter a truly determined data thief. A better solution would be to secure USB ports, lock down Bluetooth connections, and disable Windows XP Plug and Play. Even then, the proliferation of gadgets will help keep the bad guys one step ahead.

Sources: Yahoo! TechWeb, I4U Future Tech News