McAfee couples with two-thirds of USB makers

Anti-virus company McAfee today announced partnerships with two-thirds of the world’s USB manufacturers, as part of its plans to provide anti-virus software for USB devices.

The original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partnerships are with Kingston, MXI, Rocky Mountain Ram, SanDisk, SPYRUS, Hagiwara, and Yoggie Security Systems. 

USB devices have become the mainstay for portable data storage, but with their popularity has come a growing security risk. Many viruses and trojans are being developed specifically to target USB devices, which can spread to computers when inserted into a USB port, and then spread back to more USB devices afterwards, creating a potentially never-ending cycle of infection.

In May IBM joined a growing list of red-faced companies when it gave out infected USB drives at the AusCERT event, showing that even the giants of the technology industry are not immune to this problem. Security consultants, such as Graham Cluley at Sophos, believe better anti-virus protection is needed to stop this growing problem. McAfee is clearly in agreement and wants to tackle the USB market while the infection rate is on the increase.

The proposed plan is that McAfee will provide an automatic anti-malware scan of USB devices, which will also block any attempted transfers, such as an autorun file, from the USB device to a PC or vice-versa, which is usually how infections occur.

“Whether it’s intellectual property, confidential information, or trade secrets, corporations, governments and defence entities all need to take appropriate steps to properly secure their data,” said David Scholtz, senior vice president of worldwide strategic alliances for McAfee. “Conventional USB drives and other removable storage devices can allow viruses, worms and other malicious code to penetrate systems. The combination of McAfee anti-virus technology with our OEM partner offerings provides the comprehensive layers of protection required to protect data from loss or leakage, and prevent the spread of malware.”