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Corporations should ban iPod?

“Companies should consider banning portable storage devices such as Apple’s iPod from corporate networks as they can be used to introduce malware or steal corporate data, according to an analyst.

Small portable storage products can bypass perimeter defences like firewalls and antivirus at the mailserver, and introduce malware such as Trojans or viruses onto company networks, claimed analyst Gartner in a report issued this week. Analysts have warned for some time of the dangers of using portable devices, but the report points out these also now include ‘disk-based MP3 players, such as Apple’s iPod, and digital cameras with smart media cards, memory sticks, compact flash and other memory media.’”

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Comments

1

How about just disable access to them from within the network? Shouldn’t be too hard I’d imagine.

Posted by kainjow on July 5, 2004 at 8:09 AM (PDT)

2

Any Network Administrator worth his / her salt, would know how to disable such a device other than for a local workstation.

Still, if someone wanted to do Corporate Espionage, its just as easy to do this without an iPod (or similar device). You could just do it with the web.

Posted by dede on July 5, 2004 at 8:50 AM (PDT)

3

*yawn* What about CDs and floppy disks?  How about small laptops with ethernet ports?  What about laptops with WiFi cards?

Security “experts” like to work everyone into a tizzy about stuff two years after the fact and while there are even more potentially dangerous weaknesses already in place.  Someone needs to stop drawing attention to them.

Posted by duke on July 5, 2004 at 8:53 AM (PDT)

4

If you’re really worried about malware, just disable autorun.inf on your windows boxes. Sheesh.

On that note, since when do you need mass storage for viruses? Almost all viruses still fit on a five-inch floppy.

Posted by Big Jim on July 5, 2004 at 9:03 AM (PDT)

5

And what about USB sticks, small portable hard drives, etc. As was mentioned earlier, it’s easy to steal data if the theif really wants it.

Posted by Jester in Houston .:. TX on July 5, 2004 at 9:28 AM (PDT)

6

Analyst Garner can lick my balls…like many of you said viruses can be stored on devices other than the iPod like USB drives, floppy discs, internet, etc.

Posted by Alex on July 5, 2004 at 9:29 AM (PDT)

7

this is kinda like the recruit, aint it? she had to sneak in a USB Memory stick in her coffee mug because they woulda cought her and stuff. but she was in the cia.

but yeah, no one would suspect the iPod cause you would just be listening to your music, atleast thats what it would seem like to them.

but really, your getting it onto your computer and stealing all your corporations data! muahhaha

Posted by Zeve Salman on July 5, 2004 at 9:42 AM (PDT)

8

The article does mention USB key drives and wasn’t specifically targetting iPods or MP3 music players, but rather portable storage devices in general. Their recommendation to admins was to basically disable USB ports on local workstations from accessing external drives. Seems like a reasonable suggestion for paranoid companies.

Posted by tinaa on July 5, 2004 at 9:55 AM (PDT)

9

Yawn, must have been a slow day in analyst land….

The easy cheap solution is Silly Putty, jam it into the CD/DVD drive, and floppy, as well as the serial, parallel , usb and firewire ports and that should keep “malware” from being introduced to a PC

grin

Posted by Scott on July 5, 2004 at 11:07 AM (PDT)

10

I think I’ll become an analyst…

Posted by Doc on July 5, 2004 at 11:33 AM (PDT)

11

Blocking the connection of such devices makes sense. “Banning” their use would be silly, of course—they’re so easy to smuggle in a pocket anyway.

Posted by Nagromme on July 5, 2004 at 3:43 PM (PDT)

12

Often analyst generate business by making their potential clients panic about stability and security.

Posted by Starboard on July 5, 2004 at 5:55 PM (PDT)

13

Obviously Gartner as a company still must use ps2 mice for all of their corporate desktops with the Disable USB remark.  Great, you can’t offload data, so you’re secure, but you’ve not only possibly decreased productivity of those who actually take data home to work on it, but also completely hindered your mobile force from plugging in a USB mouse or mouse pointer on the fly.  Sounds like this report was written during happy hour.

Posted by Brian on July 5, 2004 at 6:15 PM (PDT)

14

The risks of viruses entering a huge network are real, as are the risks of competitive data being stolen.  Don’t knock off the analysts.

There are ways of disabling any storage devices not approved by a domain administrator or something along those lines—it’s commonly practiced in libraries, even.  A USB mouse will work at your neighborhood branch, but your pen drive will not. 

Posted by dethbrakr on July 5, 2004 at 8:07 PM (PDT)

15

iPodlounge should ban boring stories.

Posted by Whiner on July 5, 2004 at 8:46 PM (PDT)

16

I think they should just ban computers. That would get rid of all the risks. smile

Posted by Shadow on July 6, 2004 at 2:48 AM (PDT)

17

here’s an idea - ban human beings from logging onto the precious networks.  They’re the ones hooking up all these evil devices, poisoning the systems with virii, and stealing critical data.

Yeah, get all those damn workers out of there and everything will run smoothly!

Posted by altcountryman on July 6, 2004 at 5:07 AM (PDT)

18

the reality is that as long as people have access to an ftp nothing is truly secure.

but it would be easy to just lock the hardware profile of the computer so that they couldnt plug anything in.

Posted by Tuckie on July 6, 2004 at 5:14 AM (PDT)

19

This brings back happy memories from my former employer: they had the rule that all storage
tapes had to be registered at the security desk.
At that time, ~1993, the tapes were in pocket-book-sized cartrides that stored about 60Mb.

Well, one day we cut a software image for a customer that used DAT drives. (A DAT tape has the size of a matchbox, and stores ~1Gb) So, I walk up to Chuck at the desk, and try to get the tape registered.
Answer: “Oh, we only care about the big tapes”

The writer of the article under discussion is probably a relative of Chuck.

Posted by mgw on July 6, 2004 at 5:55 AM (PDT)

20

Well…iPod spot checks :p.

Posted by Xp on July 6, 2004 at 6:38 AM (PDT)

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