The Dangers of Using Non-Enncrypted USB Drives

USB drives are useful devices for storing vast amounts of data as well as for transferring them to computers. One of the most popular attributes of USB drives is their portability.

A portable device which can hold large amounts of data whilst also offering easy transfer between computers sounds like a fantastic piece of technology, right?

The answer is a definite yes, but most USB drives are not encrypted. This can lead to major security issues as a small portable device without security can easily get lost or even stolen. If this happens and it the USB drive is not encrypted the implications are obvious. This article will discuss some of the dangers involved with using USB drives that are not encrypted.

Data Leaks

For any business looking after their data is critical, losing key data may even make a company vulnerable to closure. USB drives in business are used to hold important files and may in some cases store top secret files with data that you would never want to be released.

If you have a USB drive that is not encrypted and it gets lost then the result is whoever finds it can do what they like with the data they find. Data leaks (depending on their scale) can be terrible news for businesses and this is a major problem with using non-encrypted USB drives. In recent years businesses investigating the cause of a data breach in their company found that over 50% of these data breaches were caused by lost USB drives.

Malware Issues

Viruses and malware are designed to spread with ease. If you are using a non-encrypted USB drive then the likelihood of it getting infected by a virus or malware is far higher. Every time you put your USB drive into a computer if that computer has a virus then your USB drive is at risk of receiving that virus.

Once your USB drive is infected it becomes a carrier of the virus and is likely to infect further computers. If your USB drive is encrypted then it is far harder for a virus to cause infection in the first place.

As unlikely as it may seem if you leave your USB drive unattended at a computer and it is non-encrypted then other people could innocently or deliberately infect your USB drive (without you knowing).

Government compliance

Due to laws such as the Data Protection Act, 1998 it is now a legal requirement in the UK that all data is properly protected. If your company does not properly protect the data of its employees or customers and there is a data leak under law your company can face legal consequences. A failure to encrypt your data is a non-compliance with the Data Protection A. If you choose to hold valuable data on USB drives in your business you need to comply with the laws or face the consequences.

Employee Satisfaction

It is important to let your employees know exactly how and why data protection is important, but you do not want to do this to the point that your employees are scared of making a mistake. Many companies now have Data Protection and/or Information Security Policies within the workplace.

By automatically encrypting all the available data including USB drives employees can work in the freedom of knowing losing a USB drive will not have major consequences.

Better to be safe than sorry

Encrypting USB drives is not a hard task and the only excuse for not doing it is laziness. Even though the chance of a data leak occurring because of a non-encrypted USB is low it is good practice to encrypt all USB drives.


Non-encrypted USB drives can cause issues that are easily avoided. Hopefully you will have read this article and realise the importance of encrypting all your data. Make sure it is all encrypted so you never have to face a data leak issue in your business.

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