With in a few minutes of downloading Rufus one can determine the software does not make a USB CD-ROM flash drive.
We confirmed this with another article we found on the web from GetUSB.info and they explained how to burn ISO to USB. What they concluded, and so did we, is that Rufus will extract the content of an ISO file and copy those files to the USB flash drive, but the Rufus software doesn’t change the configuration of the device, to that of a CD-ROM.
What started this quest was not wanting to make a bootable Windows flash drive, but rather, find a way to make a USB read-only so the data on the flash drive would not be removed or deleted.
In addition to having the USB read-only for the content, it also makes things impossible for a virus to jump onto the flash drive and spread. Given (my day job) my company doesn’t want a flash drive with our content and logo to be able to spread a virus, so the only solution we found was making sure the USB stick was read-only in the first place.
GetUSB.info article explains what Rufus does and also how to make a USB CD-ROM flash drive, the right way.
Honeywell recently released a cybersecurity report claiming that 37% of threats were specifically designed to utilize removable media, such as USB flash drives, which almost doubled from 19% in 2020. This number could be drastically reduced when the proper media and solution are used.
The report by Honeywell is an attempt to redirect attention to their “Honeywell Forge” product which is a software based solution which monitors connected devices and reports back cyber-security risks detected. Ref:1
Isn’t there a difference between monitoring devices and actually preventing security breaches?
EverythingUSB.com posted an article today about a USB drive that is ideally suited for Industrial Control Systems and solves the problem which Honeywell reports.
Industrial Control Systems are (most often) air-gapped solutions. Meaning the computer systems which run them have never been on the internet. With that in mind, the only way to update such a system is through portable storage media, like a USB flash drive. Taking this a step further, if one can guarantee a USB drive which has system updates is clean and write protected (locked as a read-only drive) then malware is unlikely to be introduced to the control system through removeable media.
As the EverythingUSB article points out, there are “basic” ways to make a USB read-only, but don’t let that fool you because cyber-criminals can easily get around them. Basic methods such as changing read-only attribute with DISKPART through command utility as well as manually setting drive security rights from Windows registry values.
The Lock License flash drive by Nexcopy is a device which is always write protected. The write protection is controlled at the hardware level of the chip, so it’s more durable against hacking because machine code of a chip is way more difficult to hack than software running from an operating system.
The Lock License drive can become writable. The user enters some code to temporarily remove the write protection and allow the device to become writable. This gives the creator of the content 100% control on the computer environment to determine if things are safe before putting data on the drive. Said another way, it gives the content owner a guaranteed way to securely create a flash drive with data which is then locked as a read-only device so no further manipulation of the device can happen.
It’s like… why didn’t flash drives simply be created this way in the first place? Source link above in article.
With my Windows 10 computer whenever a USB flash drive is connected the Windows Explorer / My Computer displays the wrong drive label for my device. The name is correct in Disk Management, but Explorer is incorrect, as well any program which uses Explorer to parse the device and read the volume name.
I’ve also seen where any USB device connected displays a specific label name, but not the correct label name as seen in Disk Management.
When the above situation occurs there are three possible reasons why the USB drive name displays the incorrect label. Starting with the most common and easiest to fix, let us take a look at the three solutions to resolve this problem:
Check the device connected for an .inf file. An .info file is a Setup Information file and tells the host computer what to do [Wikipedia]. Many times this is a hidden file, so you may need to turn on “Show hidden files, folders and drives.” If you don’t know how to do this, jump to the bottom of this article and GetUSB.info shows you how.
In the screen shot below you can see the drive letter D, which is a flash drive, having a very long label (or Volume) name of “How To Make a CD ROM Partition” The image also shows the autorun.inf file open with the instructions to rename the drive label to be “How To Make a CD ROM Partition”
To resolve the problem of the label name being different than what you expect, or see is Disk Management, you will need to delete this file. Once the file is deleted you must power cycle, or reconnect, the USB drive to see the changed affects.
If you want to learn more about using inf files with USB drives, we did a post on this many moons ago, back in April of 2009. Here is the link on how to use inf files to rename your flash drive.
The second most common reason would be a rogue registry entry that is somehow sticking around. The registry of a computer system is like a huge log file, or registry, of things changed on your PC, connected to your PC, software installed on your PC and drives on your PC. It is very likely the Windows operating system has, some how, locked in the volume name to the drive letter… so whether one USB device or another is connected, the registry pitches out the locked volume name. A quick way to resolve this issue is clean out the rogue registry entries.
GetUSB.info wrote a blog post about this a long time ago, but in summary, a Windows registry will make over 200 entries or edits for each USB stick connected. That is a lot of information! Once the drive is disconnected, the registry information is still there. These “historical” entries are what must be cleaned out. It’s a good article if you have a few extra minutes [found here].
Data protection and cyber-security: Harnessing the power of write protected USB drives, Greg Morris, CEO of Nexcopy Incorporated based in Southern California, looks at the opportunities for enterprises surrounding read-only USB technology.
November 18, 2020
The world is a global digital economy more than ever before and that move includes the digitization of intellectual property and assets which are shared between customers and clients. The cases of sophisticated data breaches, hacking and cyber crimes target individuals, government entities and private corporations. These attacks have grown by leaps and bounds in the last ten years. According to one report published from a securities website, an enterprise may suffer an average loss of $3.92 million as a result of data intrusion and hacking.
Cyber threats and risks are becoming more severe as IP is increasingly stored in digital format. As such, keeping the digital data, especially confidential data, away from cyber criminals is imperative and should be a primary concern for IT managers and professionals. Without a data protection strategy, an enterprise is unwittingly providing an entry point for cyber criminals to obtain valuable information, which could be worth millions of dollars.
Cyber-security and endpoint data loss protection are key strategies in keeping digital attacks at bay. Strategies which encompass all aspects of data entry points is critical, from the mass storage physical devices like USB flash drives, to network connectivity with cloud storage and network communications.
With this in mind, having efficient and easy to use storage and memory devices is key to enterprise employees adhering to security protocols and at the same time have an ease-of-use through execution of such protocols. Empowering employees on deciding for themselves when, where and which devices to work with is an underrated component of an overall security strategy, yet incredibly important. With the empowerment given to employees, a management team must still account for, and eliminate, user error or forgetfulness even in the most cautions of protocols and procedures.
The USB flash drive was first introduced to the United States via IBM in the year 2000. Today, twenty years later, the flash drive is still a primary storage device used when sharing information. This is true for government, healthcare, finance, automotive, telecommunication and manufacturing, who still rely heavily on USB storage devices, which, if not secure, can inadvertently lead to leaked personal and private information. Employees use USB drives for faster exchange of information and better collaboration between departments or job positions. Employers should be able to provide the needed data storage devices while also ensuring a no-fault security system is in place to protect the company’s intellectual property and the company’s network infrastructure.
For example, in the healthcare sector, it is common practice among doctors to use mobile data storage devices to transfer data easily from a doctor’s office to say that of a hospital. Each location holds sensitive data with patient records and it’s equally important those locations are safe from hacker intrusion. When transferring data between one location and another via a USB flash drive, it is important that device remains secure. The responsibility of digital security falls on the IT professional who manages these digital networks, but also responsibility is held by the user of those technologies.
In order for a virus to spread between locations via a storage device, like a USB flash drive, implys the USB must carry the virus or malicious code from one location to the next. However; these devices cannot get infected if the USB is a read-only device. Meaning the device cannot add new digital content, digital files or malicious code if the USB is not allowed to write data into memory. After the drive is connected and the network scans the device for malicious code the user has access to the drive, at which point a secure password can be entered to unlock the read-only flash drive and make it read/write. The USB drive is always write protected when first connected to any digital device, it is impossible for a virus to jump onto the drive without the user knowing. Only when the user knows the device and environment is safe from hacking, can the password be entered to access the USB drive as a read/write device to transfer files from one location to another.
This type of USB flash drive is called a Lock License drive.
The unique thing about this Lock License flash drive, is the write protection is always enabled whenever the USB is disconnected from the computer. Meaning, the default status of the drive is read-only when connected to any device. When the storage device is reconnected to any computer, it is read-only and files cannot get onto the drive until a password is entered. However, the user experience is very nice and easy because files can always be copied off the drive, without a password. The user gets the full benefit of ease-of-use which a USB flash drive is so well known for, without the hassle and worry of the storage device being exposed to malicious software for data breaches or hacking.
The same caution must be observed with systems-control applications. System Control products are hardware based products which use firmware to run the mechanical product. The hardware are things such as turbine controls for water and power facilities, large pumps for water work facilities or motors to capture wind generated energy. These products are the back-bone of American infrastructure and must be secure at all times. A typical encrypted flash drive doesn’t work to update the firmware of these types of products because the system-control products do not have a user interface to enter passwords. However; a read-only USB device is valuable because it is secure from spreading a virus to the system control units and at the same time the systems control unit can pull firmware or updates from the USB drive without fear of also getting malicious code. The device is not writable, so malicious software or hacking code cannot embed itself into memory on such update devices.
Investing in data protection and cyber security solutions is the primary function of IT professionals and multiple systems and layers of security steps are required to keep a corporation or enterprise safe and secure. By locking down the most common entry point, a USB port, with read-only USB flash memory products from Nexcopy is a key ingredient to the overall success of a cyber security strategy. When correctly combined with endpoint software management, hardware-based write protected USB storage devices can empower public and private sector enterprises and allow them to gain control of their organization’s devices
Learn more about Nexcopy’s USB write protection for flash memory.
Kingston Technology, based in Fountain Valley California, will become the majority shareholder in a joint venture set up with Phison Electronics, one of its Taiwanese suppliers.
Phison Electronics will sell its shares in the joint venture called Kingston Solutions, Inc. (KSI) to the Fountain Valley company, which announced the transaction earlier today, August 11, 2020. The deal is worth nearly $60.3 million US.
Kingston, a maker of memory products for computers and consumer electronics, is Orange County’s largest private company. The firm, led by co-founder and chief executive John Tu, had revenue of $12.8 billion last year.