By Clement James
30 May 2007
Security professionals routinely carry around portable storage devices
loaded with sensitive work-related data, potentially putting company
information at risk.
According to a straw poll carried out at Infosecurity Europe last month,
90 per cent of the 12,000 attendees routinely carried portable storage
SmartLine, a developer of network management and end-point security
offerings, conducted a short survey on its stand.
"Ninety per cent of our visitors were carrying USB sticks, MP3 players,
mobile phones with a memory card, digital cameras or some other storage
gadget, " said Sacha Chahrvin, managing director for UK & Ireland at
"If they are representative of Infosec's visitors as a whole then nearly
11,000 had such a device on them. We calculated that there were just
under 22,000 devices in total wandering around at Infosec."
The survey also showed that 80 per cent of visitors believed their
company had lost valuable confidential data through the use of these
Of the 20 per cent who were confident that their data was safe from
rogue USB sticks, only one did not use such devices at work.
"The security experts who visited our stand were very honest, and most
admitted to a security breach. My concern is that the remaining 20 per
cent are just kidding themselves," said Chahrvin.
"Our survey shows that these devices are extremely popular. Only 10 per
cent of people did not have one on them, and everyone who took part in
the survey owned at least one such product, even if they hadn't got it
"Although these gadgets are designed to be perfectly harmless, it does
not take much for them to become a major security headache. It is all
too easy to use them to siphon off valuable data.
"Even legitimate users can simply lose the device, or have it stolen.
Organisations need to ensure that they have the right security measures
in place to protect themselves from this type of data leakage."
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