Home > General Tech > USB fingerprints identify ‘pod slurping’ data thieves

USB fingerprints identify ‘pod slurping’ data thieves

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20527475.600-usb-fingerprints-identify-pod-slurping-data-thieves.html

a telltale “USB fingerprint” has been discovered that can identify which files have been targeted in so-called pod-slurping attacksData theft via USB ports is rife, says Alexandra Brodie, an intellectual property lawyer with Wragge & Co in London. “We areencountering increasing volumes of IP theft committed this way, with companies losing their trade secrets and accumulated know-how,” she says… Pod slurpers might simply steal an individual document by copying it onto a USB stick. Hackers can also copy vast numbers of documents using document-scavenging tools such as USB Switchblade… Now there is a way to spot such data theft… testing every make and model of USB stick and iPod/iPhone…discovered that each one has a distinctive transfer rate when copying data from a PC’s hard drive (Computers and Security, DOI: 10.1016/j.cose.2010.01.002). This is due to the differences in the microcircuitry and components that go into making each type of device… able to find out if files have been copied by consulting the Windows registry, which records the make and model of every USB device plugged into that computer with a time stamp. The pair then check all document folders for any files that were accessed shortly after the USB device was plugged in – the computer registry counts copying as file access… find a folder they suspect has been copied, they list the times the files within it were accessed. If thetotal time it took to access all the files matches the transfer rate of a particular USB stick or iPod plugged into the PC at that point, then it is fair to assume a pod-slurping attack has taken place… writing a program to automate the process

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