Survey: USB Drives are the Greatest Breach Risk at the Workplace – Women are 25% less of an Insider Threat

Posted by: on Jun 17, 2011 | One Comment

A new survey shows that when given the choice of a tool to perform a data breach, 60% of employees opt for the USB Flash drive. It also showed that over 25% of men in a management position think that it is OK to take information with you when you end employment. Women have a higher sense of morality when it comes to company data and are less likely offenders.

Survey Prompted by a Data Breach of 500,000 Customers Records
Following an insider breach exposing 500,000 customer records at T-Mobile in the United Kingdom, a survey “A View on Company Data” was conducted in the United States by BlockMaster to point out the global trends within USB usage and how employees regard company information. The money the T-Mobile employee in London made on the side from the data theft prompted SC Magazine’s Dan Raywood to conclude that “there is a thriving market for data.”

“A View on Company Data” Survey Finding #1: USB Drives are the Greatest Risk Factor
When respondents were asked: “If you were to take a significant amount of information from a current employer, which tool would you use?”, 60.4% responded that they would use a USB Flash drive. Surprisingly, the option of taking information by printing it on regular paper (21.8%) outscored those who would use email (13.6%). The success of making email a less viable option may be directly related to the success of implementing security measures such as email monitoring and firewalls within organizations.

“A View on Company Data” Survey Finding #2: USB Drives Are a Praised Productivity Tool
In the survey the office workers praise the USB flash drive as a great productivity tool. Users were quoted saying “it is the perfect tool for bring home work with,” and others points to it as a means of “grabbing files quickly and conveniently when on the go”. This finding highlights the balance that IT managers have to address between the USB drive as a security risk vs. a productivity tool.

USB drives is the biggest breach risk

“A View on Company Data” Survey Finding #3: Women Have a Clearer Sense of ‘Information Morality’?
From a morality aspect, it is interesting to see that people within management who have a higher degree of education and are men find it more acceptable to take information with them when they end employment. Women were 25% less likely to do the same as their male counterparts.

Researchers Agree that Non-secure USB Flash Drives Are a Threat
The risk of insider threats from USB was also highlighted by columnist Marc Saltzman on Telus Talks Business blogs where Michael Gartenberg, research director at Gartner stated, ” IT departments need to make sure their machines are secure and sensitive information protected.”

The statistical sample size was 100 respondents. Respondents were employed office workers over the age of 18 with residence in the USA.

Official press release found here


1 Comment

  1. BlockMaster | USB Security and Beyond… » Rely on USB Drives Without the Risk of Misuse
    June 28, 2011

    [...] week, Anders wrote about the survey conducted on the heels of the T-Mobile breach.  It has produced some interesting insight into the [...]


Leave a Reply