Are the storage devices and other media responsible for spreading viruses?
The last two decades have seen many changes in the technological arena and the invention of the internet is one of them. The popularity and penetration of the internet in almost every aspects of life has made things easy for us but at the same time it has also created some problems. The threat of viruses to computer users across the globe is one of the major problems. The source of these viruses has always been an issue of debate among experts. Undoubtedly these viruses spread and communicate through various channels including malicious websites, infected devices, infected web pages and more. Here, in this article we will discuss the role of storage media in spreading viruses.
It is beyond any doubt that storage media including USB flash drives, CDs, DVDs and others are vulnerable targets of computer viruses. It is only due to this reason that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has banned the use of thumb drives, CDs and other portable devices. Storage media like CDs and flash drives have always been a soft target of virus authors because they are used by so many people. Once any of these devices gets infected then this will effect innumerable users within very less time.
According to the chief security strategist of a leading IT firm, the virus authors are deliberately designing new malware that are designed to spread through USB devices. They are aptly termed as today’s floppy drives. The portability factor of such devices makes it the preferred target of virus designers. Moreover, infecting such devices is not a difficult task and can be done without much difficulty.
USB drives are not the only means that are used to spread viruses rather anything that plugs into a USB port can be used for this illicit purpose. Thus other media including gadgets, lights, fans, speakers, toys, even a digital microscope can be used to disseminate viruses. These devices can be easily infected during manufacturing or supply if adequate quality measures are not adopted.
The spread of viruses through computers can be understood easily. A clean USB drive or other gadgets can be infected while they are inserted into an infected computer. The same drive could be spreading the virus onto other computers if the systems are enabled with an AutoRun type of feature. The AutoRun function is a Windows-enabled utility that by default launches installers and other programs when a flash drive or CD is inserted into the system. This again increases the vulnerabilities of storage devices for a virus infection.
Storage media play a significant role in spreading viruses across computers. Being a soft target of virus authors they are used often to disseminate viruses and other threats for computer security.