McAfee has announced partnerships with two-thirds of secure USB device manufacturers in the world, to pre-install an antivirus solution on their products. The technology prevents copying files to the device if the host computer is infected.
The antivirus giant has signed OEM partnerships with companies like Kingston Digital Inc, MXI, Rocky Mountain Ram, SanDisk, SPYRUS, Hagiwara, and Yoggie Security Systems, which have secure USB devices in their portfolio. The deals involve McAfee preloading an anti-virus solution onto the devices.
According to an official press release, the solution performs an automatic scan when the storage device is inserted into a computer. If any malware is detected on the system, writing permissions to the drive are automatically disabled.
"Whether it’s intellectual property, confidential information, or trade secrets, corporations, governments and defense entities all need to take appropriate steps to properly secure their data. Conventional USB drives and other removable storage devices can allow viruses, worms and other malicious code to penetrate systems. The combination of McAfee anti-virus technology with our OEM partner offerings provides the comprehensive layers of protection required to protect data from loss or leakage, and prevent the spread of malware," David Scholtz, McAfee's senior vice president of worldwide strategic alliances, commented.
The success USB devices can have at being used as a conduit to spread malware has been demonstrated at the beginning of 2009 by Conficker. The infamous worm managed to infect thousands of enterprise computers after it was introduced inside secure corporate networks on USB drives brought by employees.
Even before Conficker, the risks were evident. The U.S. Army had to resort to banning the use of all removable media devices across both its classified and unclassified networks, in order to contain infections with SillyFDC. This bad covered USB keys, external hard disks, music players, as well as CDs and DVDs.
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