Fujitsu’s Theft-Proof USB

Fujitsu’s Theft-Proof USB
Fujitsu has recently announced the development of two new technologies designed to protect private data. The two will be applied to universal serial bus (USB) memory devices, and will be useful in case such devices are lost. The first of the announced technologies can autonomously erase all memory from the storage device, while the other ensures that data held on the device could only be stored on a specified server.

Although alert employees refrain from misplacing a valuable storage device, Fujitsu’s solution could prove useful when dealing with the threat of industrial espionage. As leakage of personal or confidential information has grown to become an urgent problem addressed by many companies, it has become clear that there’s a need to improve security measures. Considering the fact that portable storage devices (such as USB memory sticks) are convenient for data transfer, it seems they are prone to theft or misplacement. Furthermore, important information can be leaked via file-sharing networks – this can occur even when storage devices are connected to personal PCs at home.

While firms could forbid their employees from taking work-related notebook PCs home, it is harder to maintain surveillance over portable USB memory devices. Moreover, if an employee’s position requires portability (a salesperson, for example) it is even harder to enforce a restrictive policy. Currently, most companies use encrypted devices that require passwords, while some corporations use One Time Passwords (OTPs). In comparison, Fujitsu’s concept of data erasure ensures that by no means an unauthorized person would be able to access the device.

Fujitsu’s developed prototype is equipped with a processor and battery. After a fixed period of time, if the USB memory device is plugged into an unauthorized PC, the data can be automatically erased or the device could be rendered unusable. The desired policy is preset when the protected data is stored.

Fujitsu’s second technology monitors file redirection. It restricts the copying of data from the USB memory device, forcing it to reside solely on the USB memory itself and a designated company server. This technique can also be used to prohibit confidential data from being forwarded in an e-mail attachment or printed.

According to Fujitsu Laboratories, it is planned to expand application of these technologies for practical information-centric security measures, in order to prevent leaks via e-mail and other network channels – not just those that occur as a result of lost storage devices or file-sharing – and to address the issue of leaks through sub-contractor environments.

TFOT has covered another tool that deals with the risk of losing USB memory devices – the USB Lock, an innovative USB cap which offers users the ability to secure various devices that connect to USB ports. Other related stories include coverage of OCZ Throttle, which integrates External Serial ATA connectivity (eSATA) with a conventional USB drive, and the Toshiba 32GB NAND Flash Memory, which has full compliance with the e-MMC and e-SD standards and provides one of the largest available densities.

For more information about Fujitsu’s self-erasing memory devices, see the company’s press release.

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About the author

Ehud Rattner

Ehud is a student for Communication & Journalism as well as Business Administration in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has knowledge in computers' software and hardware and a keen interest in consumer electronics and innovative gadgets.

View all articles by Ehud Rattner