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iPods, other portable storage seen as threat

updated 12:10 pm EDT, Tue July 24, 2007

iPods: security threat?

iPods are counted among security threats in a new corporate survey about portable storage. Credant Technologies says that in a private poll of 323 managers and executives across different fields, 67 percent said that iPods were a threat, while 10 percent said they were the greatest threat. Conversely, 78 percent said that USB flash drives were the biggest issue. The alleged danger of iPods is, first, their storage capacity: while USB keys tend to be capped at 16 to 32GB, iPods can hold as much as 80GB, allowing vast amounts of data to be taken, whether maliciously or not.

The other problem is ubiquity, since even 61 percent of the survey group said it used iPods when at work or travelling. The technology is increasingly popular with 18- to 30-year-olds, who reputedly see the device as just another audio player; this view is said to be mirrored with the aforementioned managers and executives, only 6 percent of whom have encrypted protection for iPod data. Likewise, a full 40 percent say they have no policy whatsoever regarding iPods.

The results of the poll should be considered skeptically, however. Credant sells a program called Mobile Guardian, specifically aimed at securing mobile data.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    why...

    do youi guys post these stupid sensationalist stories, which just use iPhone or iPod as a word to try to give another product some sort of credibility.

  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    ummm..

    and what about thumb drives? pocket drives? this is JUST like the stupid article CNN had about how "ipods" are dangerous during a lighting storm.. FYI: it's not iPods.. it's ANY electrical device, including bluetooth headsets. Correction.. anything metal is bad.

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    unscrupulous employees...

    ...are the real threat. Without portable electronics, they can still steal company information.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: ummm

    and what about thumb drives? pocket drives?

    And people say I can't read. It says right in the article that 78 percent said USB flash drives were the MAJOR threat, vs 10% for the iPod. So they're actually seeing the threat where it really lies.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re unscrupulous employees

    ...are the real threat. Without portable electronics, they can still steal company information.

    Yeah, but its a lot easier to sneak out of a secure area with a USB key then it is a filing cabinet, hard drive, papers, etc.

  1. ender

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    can't be stopped

    But the type of data theft they appear concerned about (requiring huge storage capacity) isn't something that would occur on a whim. It's planned. So unless you are going to conduct full body searches of every employee coming and going, having a policy against the devices is just going to annoy and inconvenience honest employees, not stop the theft. And you can't realistically block access because there are legit business reasons to transfer files via USB drive.

    Besides, my laptop has more storage than that. I could just walk out the door with it. Or maybe they should take away my burner, because I might walk out the door with several DVDs worth of data. Of course, I'll first print labels on them to make them look like music CDs. Not that I've given it much thought...

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    little did I know

    but apparently my 8 gig iPod can hold up to 80 gig!

    Wow! So, while my iPod is capped at 8 Gig, flash drives can store up to 32 Gig!

    They should have asked people that actual know something about the subject. ;)

    Actually, they did. I'd guess that at least 80% of the 10% that rated the iPod as a critical risk are also in the 78% that rated flash drives as critical. leaving a very small number that think iPods are more of a threat than thumb drives.

    But people don't generally buy iPods as simple file storage devices. They buy them for downloading tunes they like, pictures, now movies, and backing up their calendar data and contacts. Lots of folks do probably use their iPods as file storage as well, but who wants to clutter their iPod with work files?

    The iPod is mentioned for 2 reasons. They are to be counted as removable storage, and just as importantly, they are popular. It's okay. I understand. I don't see this article as bashing Apple or the iPod. I don't even see it as singling out the iPod as any more of a security threat.

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