BeCyberSmart: The Hidden Risks of Unknown Removable Media

October 13, 2023 9:00 AM

Center for Information Technology

While discovering a USB drive or another piece of removable media can feel like stumbling upon lost treasure, the hidden risks associated with these devices are real and cannot be ignored.

What is Removable Media?

Removable media refers to any type of storage device that can be removed from a computer while the system is running. Common examples include USB sticks, SD cards, and external hard drives. These devices are known for their portability and convenience, making them favorites for many.

Proceed with Caution

Finding an unknown USB drive or another piece of removable media naturally piques our curiosity. Even though it might seem harmless, plugging an unfamiliar device into your computer can be risky. These drives can be deliberately dropped or misplaced by individuals with malicious intentions. Just because a USB drive looks innocent on the outside does not mean its contents are. For instance, a drive could have been compromised without the original owner’s knowledge and might spread harmful programs the moment it is connected to a new device.

The Right Course of Action

Should you encounter an unknown piece of removable media on campus, please refrain from plugging it in or attempting to view its contents. Instead, the best action is to contact CIT immediately.

Stay Informed, Stay Safe

In today’s digital age, it is more crucial than ever to be cybersecurity aware. By making informed choices and understanding potential risks, we can all contribute to a safer, more secure digital environment at Oberlin.