Archive for June, 2021

USB Flash Drive for Industrial Control Systems

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.

Reference 1

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