USB Security Found Lax Both In and Out of the Workplace

Now you can attach fish, missiles, beer and much more. Having fun with wacky new USB attachments.

A new survey reveals that nearly 10 percent of people who own a USB device containing corporate data have lost it, and more than 75 percent of them never reported it to their bosses.

The statistic comes from the data protection company CREDANT Technologies, which questioned 229 people about the security measures they take with their USB flash drives.

More than 85 percent of those polled said their companies allow them to use USB devices, yet more than half of the respondents confirmed their USBs were not encrypted, making the corporate data stored on the flash drive easy to access if stolen.

This is a troublesome statistic, as the survey reported that 20 percent of people never delete the corporate data stored on their USB devices.

"Companies are spending millions on their security and it could all be in vain if they fail to close this basic area of vulnerability. If they have a workforce that are using USB storage media, blissfully unaware of the potential mayhem that these ubiquitous devices could potentially cause, no matter how much is spent the enterprise will never be secure. These small USB sticks can be, and often are, easily lost or stolen, thus leaving data, and those responsible for protecting that data, vulnerable,” said Bob Heard, CREDANT's chief executive officer.

USB security is taken lightly outside the office as well.

Sixty-eight percent of respondents share their USBs with family, colleagues or friends. And more alarming statistics: more than 21 percent of people admitted owning as many as 10 or more USB devices, while more than half of those surveyed couldn’t remember what data was stored on them.