Data Security: Simple Steps to Block USB Ports

February 29, 2016 | Views: 7969

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Data Security: Simple Steps to Block USB Ports

Needless to say, the most common method for data leakage is through USB/Pen drive/Mass storage devices. Leakage is also high through PCs/laptops that get infected by viruses/malware.

Most corporations have centralized control for usage of such devices. However, such controls are desirable in the offices of Chartered Accountants/CPA firms, as they have critical databases of their clients. It’s generally observed that the Data Security Policies of CA/CPA firms are relatively weak and can be easily compromised.

In this article, we’ll explore the simple steps for blocking USB Ports i.e. blocking of Pen Drive/Mass Storage Devices.

Please note: No software is required for controlling such devices. (Yes. It’s free of cost. So, go ahead (:-   )

 

There are 2 options to achieve our objective:

  1. Through the Registry
  2. Through the Device Manager

#Through the Registry:

  1. Go to Start > Run , type “regedit” and press enter to open the registry editor
  2. Navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesUSBSTOR

In the right pane, select Start and change the value to 4 (the value 3 is to enable USB Storage). Click OK. This will disable your USB port.

Please remember:

Value

Function

3

To enable USB Port

4

To disable USB Port

The change will be effective immediately, however sometimes a reboot may be required. This hack will ensure that all the USB storage devices are disabled/blocked or enabled, according to your choice.

 

#Through the Device Manager:

  1. Go to Start > Run , type “Device Manager” and press enter to open the Device Manager
  2. Navigate to the following key: Universal Service Bus Controllers
  3. The list of installed devices will appear. Select and right click. Select ‘Disable Option’ from the menu.


Please note: The above controls will work only if your PCs/Laptops are using the Admin password. Otherwise, anyone can redo i.e. enable USB again and fly away with your confidential data.


Prepared By: CA. Hemang Doshi , CISA, FII

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26 Comments
  1. Once again I call Shenanigans. Only a hardware based block will be reliable. Especially if running a Microsoft based OS. When a windoze box gets pwnd over the network there will be nothing keeping that attacker from resetting the Registry settings to allow Universal Serial Bus traffic once again.
    Your instructions here even tell us what key to reset.

  2. So if this disables storage devices on USB does that mean power is still available? Say a call center uses this would data still be allowed one directional like a USB mic or mouse and keyboard since these are inputs and not storage devices?

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