What is USB Drop Attack and How to Survive | Rohan Girdhani

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Attention USB Drop Attack! Don't Fall into This Trap

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You may ask, what is a USB drop attack? and How does it relate to me?

Do note that anyone can be a target of a USB drop attack, and its purpose is to infiltrate your system to access your data using a USB drive to introduce USB drop attack software.

We all know what a USB drive is, we know it's a device we use to transfer and store data. What we may not realize is that it can easily be used to launch data attacks against its unsuspecting user, allowing cybercriminals full access to your system. This is why you do not willy nilly plug just any Flash drive you find into your system.

Introduction About USB Drop Attack

One day the US pentagon/military cannot easily forget is the day they experienced a USB drop attack in November 2008, it was regarded by tabloids as the day “The Worm ate the Pentagon ''. It’s one of the most serious breaches ever discovered on the Pentagon’s classified systems.

This breach was induced via an unsecured USB drive carrying a worm called Agent.biz. This drive was inserted into one of their systems and the warm crawled straight through their DoD's Network protocols, leaving the U.S. government’s top intel agencies compromised.

No one knows till this day who created the bug, who was patient zero, if or when any information was taken and they discovered that all USB drives confiscated from the operative already had the bug, but it took a whole 14 months to completely eradicate the bug.

It took just a flash drive infected with an “agent.btz” virus, inserted into a DoD's computer network to hold the US military ransom. The virus spread quickly throughout their networks, infecting classified and unclassified data alike. This bug opened the door of the US military servers to its creator, so Top secret files and information could be transferred elsewhere. In the end, the US military learned valuable lessons, took steps as well as set up policies to prevent the recurrence of such an attack.

How Much Do You Know About USB Drop Attack?

USB (Universal Serial Bus) drives are very common devices, seen by many as very effective tools for storing and transferring data from device to device. However, they are also opportunities exploited by cybercriminals to launch attacks on an unsuspecting victim's computer system.

A USB drop attack occurs just as easily as plugging suspicious USB drives, left around by cybercriminals for people to find directly into your PCs and computers.

These mysterious USBs usually contain USB drop attack software. Some people pick up these drives hoping to return them or claim a new device for free, insert them into their systems and just like that get into trouble.

Cybercriminals are able to gain unrestricted access to their device or system, via USB drop attack software hidden within the mystery drive.

Reasons Cybercriminals attempt USB drop attacks

Some reasons cybercriminals may seek to infiltrate your computer and other device include: · To remotely take over a victim’s device. · To spy on people using their webcam and microphone. · To steal personal information and passwords. · To access and encrypt a victim’s vital data and demand a ransom to release it. · To erase, modify or inject malicious data and codes to or from a victim's device. · destroy target victim’s hardware.

What to Do If Data lost After the Attack Happens?

You've just experienced a USB drop attack, you may ask "what do I do?". · First, turn off network access · Restart your computer · Sweep through your computer for malware and viruses. · Next, attempt to recover lost data following the steps below.

Using CMD to Recover Data

For Windows users:

  • Step 1: · Type 'cmd' and search · right-click on 'cmd' option · Select “Run as administrator”
  • Step 2: · Type 'chkdsk g: /r' (g is the corrupted USB drive) · press 'Enter' The recovery process will begin promptly after.

If you use Mac:

Note: Mac computers have an in-built troubleshooting tool called First Aid within Disk Utility. This can detect and repair damaged or corrupted USB drives.

  • Step 1: · Open 'Applications' · Select 'Drive Utility' · Select target USB drive
  • Step 2: · Apply 'First Aid' option from the top corner of the window and Run · Wait for the scan to conclude If successful the message 'First Aid has successfully repaired the corrupted USB drive' will be displayed, else proceed to format the drive.

Using Wonder Share Recover-it to Recover Data

You may also choose to recover files from corrupted USB using third-party data recovery programs like 'Wondershare Recover-it’. So how do you do this? To do this you'll need: · Your corrupted USB drive, · A computer (Windows or Mac) · A compatible data recovery program for your computer ('Wondershare Recover-it’) d 'Wondershare Recover-it' Data Recovery is suitable for both Windows and Mac and can be used to recover photos, media files, documents, and others from any formatted or corrupted external storage device.

Step 1: Plug in USB

Plug into the computer the corrupted USB drive

Step 2: Download & Install

· Download and Install data recovery

Step 3: Launch Program

· Launch the program

Step 4: Select USB Drive

· Select target USB drive · Click “Next” (scan should proceed immediately, however, leave scan setting at default)

Step 5: : Open Scan

· Once the scan is completed preview results to Choose data you wish to restore · Click "Recover"

##Turn to Manual Service After going through solutions 1 and 2, you may then choose to reformat the USB drive.

Manual Service For Windows users:

  • Step 1: · Right-click Start icon · Select and click on 'Disk Management'
  • Step 2: · Choose a USB drive and click 'Format'. · Supply requested info, · click 'OK, then click 'Done'

Manual Service For Mac users: Step 1: · Go to 'Applications' · Select ‘Disk Utility

Step 2: · Select target USB drive. · Click 'Erase' · Provide all data and click 'Done'.

Suggestions & Conclusion So far we've spoken about USB drop attacks, their purpose, and how to bounce back from an attack.

We've learned of the need to be cybercrime/security conscious and to avoid picking up mysterious USB drives. We've also learned that Wondershare Recoverit is a very important tool for recovering data lost or corrupted during the attack.

Now, let's talk about how we can prevent USB drop attacks.

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##How do I prevent USB drop attacks? Ensure to keep personal, sensitive, and work USB sticks separate.

  • Avoid using strange or unfamiliar USB drives.
  • Occasionally change your USB drives.
  • Scan and encrypt your computers and USB drives regularly to ensure safety.
  • Ensure to disable your computer's or PC's auto-run features.
  • If you already have a foreign USB drive plugged in:
  • Quickly disconnect the Internet to prevent data upload or download.
  • Next, restart your device immediately. Finally, ensure you participate and conduct Social Engineering Pen tests and training for your employees.

Note: Your employees are the quickest and most effective means by which Cyber criminals infiltrate your company’s computers, servers, and mainframes. Thus, ensure they are adequately trained and informed.

With the steps given above, you can actively work to prevent a potential USB drop attack and consequently protect your device and data from Cybercriminals. Stay safe and secure!


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