Former student destroys 59 university computers using USB Killer device. This was the latest headline in tech magazines about damage to computer equipment, caused by someone gaining access to an open port on equipment. This incident cost The College of Saint Rose in New York nearly $60,000 in equipment and the labor to replace. Whether it is destroyed equipment or data breaches, open ports on equipment are costly for institutions of all shapes and sizes.
Fortunately, it is easy – and inexpensive – to prevent these types of activities.
Physical security is easy to overlook when IT departments look at information security, but it is often the easiest and best place to start, forming a first line of defense against malicious activity. Access control measures, including locked doors on server rooms and telecommunication closets, and even locked cabinets or tamper resistant faceplates are a great place to start. However, that won’t stop a disgruntled employee – or student, in the example article above – from doing significant damage to computers, monitors, or any device that has an open port.
A simple fix is to block those ports to anyone who shouldn’t have access. Because many peripheral devices connect to computers via USB drives (think headsets, printers, wireless mouse, and more), virtually every computer has at least one USB port. When those ports aren’t in use, especially on equipment that is easy for many people to access, a USB block-out blocks the port and can’t be removed without a removal key. This solution costs just a few dollars per port, and prevents incidents like the headline above, where the student used a “USB Killer” device to render thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment unusable. Similar to a lock on a door, it may not keep every thief out, but will encourage most of them to move on and look for an easier target elsewhere.
USB ports aren’t the only ports that can be protected. Panduit offers block-out devices for USB ports, RJ45 copper jacks, and LC duplex fiber adapters, and lock-in devices to secure patch cords or plugs in RJ45 jacks.
Learn more about Panduit’s physical security solution in our Network Infrastructure Security Solution brochure.
And, be on the lookout for a new USB block-out that will be hitting shelves soon, with a smaller form factor that sits flush with the device, making it ideal for laptops and other applications.