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Vulnerabilities / Threats

'USB Hacksaw' Still Sharp, Expert Says

Exploit allows hackers to dump data from thumb drives and email it to a remote location

LAS VEGAS -- Interop/CSI SX Conference 2008 -- Users of USB thumb drives are still in danger of having their data dumped and stolen by perpetrators of an old-but-evolving exploit that could also infect connected systems.

"USB Hacksaw," an exploit first introduced as a proof of concept in October of 2006, is evolving and becoming more dangerous, noted Emmitt Wells, practice director at Getronics, yesterday in a session at the Computer Security Institute's SX conference, which is being held concurrently with Interop.

"USB Hacksaw is still out there, and if you're infected, you could see your data stolen and emailed to a remote location," Wells said.

USB Hacksaw uses a modified version of USBDumper and Gmail to automatically infect Windows PCs with a payload that will retrieve documents from USB drives plugged into the target machine and securely transmit them to an email account.

The tool has been modified to extend its attacks beyond the PC it's plugged into. In some cases, it may include a special version of Nmap or other vulnerability scan tools that can scan the network the system is connected to and send the data to remote locations, experts say.

A version has also been released that includes the ability to install the payload onto any drive connected to an infected computer, thus allowing the infection to spread.

USB Hacksaw is another good reason for companies to build a strong policy that does not allow users to introduce thumb drives to their systems without some form of scanning for viruses and other malware, experts say.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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