Plugging an unattended USB flash drive to a host system or network is no less than a threat. Such drives can be infected with viruses and ransomware which later can be used to disrupt the operation of a business.
Purpose of using malicious USB sticks
Malicious USB sticks are leveraged where an attacker needs physical access to a computer. The first incident was observed back in 2010 when the notorious Stuxnet worm was distributed via USB sticks to launch attacks on the networks of an Iranian facility.
Other malware that used USB flash drives for propagation include:
What can a bad USB stick do?
A malicious device can install a wide range of malware such as backdoors, trojans, and information stealers. They can also install browser hijackers that will redirect a victim to the hacker’s website of choice, which could host more malware, or inject adware, spyware or greyware on target computers.
How to protect systems from malicious USB drives?