The Dangers of a Thumb War

In Digital Assassination, we quote a cyber expert who says that every effort at “air-gapping”—the practice of keeping computers clean by isolating them from the Internet—is doomed to fail because every computer comes complete with a parasite called a human. And humans have an irrepressible desire to network.

Now The Washington Post reports that a virus made its way into some of the most sensitive classified systems because an unknown U.S. soldier, probably in Afghanistan, stuck an infected thumb drive into a laptop.

Takeaways: Air-gapping is at best a stopgap measure. And beware of thumb drives. Never, ever just pick one up and use it. Bad guys have been known to dump them next to car doors in parking lots so you will look down and imagine that you might have dropped it.


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