Security software vendor GFI has released a new network security product that can prevent unauthorised users from taking information from the network or introducing malware via USB (universal serial bus) sticks and other removable media (floppy, CD).
The GFI LANguard Portable Storage Control (PSC) also allows administrators to control the connection of devices that can register storage in Windows, such as iPods, smartphones, digital cameras and handhelds.
This is to keep office users who could plug in a USB memory stick and take out data at bay, said the company. These users could have access to and remove confidential data, introduce viruses, Trojans and illegal software.
Gartner has warned in a July 2004 report that portable devices containing a USB or FireWire connection are a serious new threat to businesses.
"Companies are underestimating the danger of the uncontrolled use of USB sticks and removable media at work. Apart from the obvious issue of unauthorised exit of data, there is the problem that users can bring in dangerous viruses and Trojans," said Nick Galea, GFI CEO, in a statement.
GFI LANguard PSC gives administrators network-wide control of which users can plug in a USB or other removable storage device and access CDs and floppies. It does this by installing a 1.2MB-sized agent on the users machine.
The GFI LANguard PSC includes a remote deployment tool, allowing administrators to deploy the agent to hundreds of machines. After installation, the agent queries Active Directory when the user logs on and sets permissions to removable storage accordingly. If the user is not a member of a group that is permitted access, then access to the device/CD/floppy is denied.
The product recognises all USB sticks and can control access to any device that can be mounted as a hard disk (by it via USB, FireWire, or other ports).
Administrators can also centrally disable users from reading or writing data to and from a CD or floppy.