TThe proliferation of BYOD and portable media devices is increasing the cybercrime attack surface exponentially. TechAdvisory.org reports that 25 percent of malware is spread today through USB devices alone. Transient cyber assets  — or devices not connected to the network all the time (which includes USB devices) — are proving to be an acute vulnerability for both information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) environments.

Once someone plugs a USB device into the network, any number of problems could occur. The devices can contain both media and file-based threats and, using the devices, bypass an organization’s security layers.  In any instance, malware can mean disaster for an entire corporation, but an attack in an OT environment — where hardware and software are used to run industrial control systems — can be one of the worst of all. This risk is enhanced when using portable media, which is often the only way to introduce files into air-gapped OT networks.  According to a new report from Fortinet, 77 percent of organizations with OT networks have experienced an IT security incident in the past year, and 78 percent have only partial centralized visibility on the cybersecurity of their OT environments.

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