iPod, National Security Threat

Companies, governments, institutions: beware of the dude carrying an iPod.

Bernhard Warner, Reuters’ excellent European Internet Correspondent, points out that the high-capacity iPod is getting banned from a lot of places as high-tech security risk. The UK’s Ministry of Defence “has become the latest organisation to add the iPod to its list of high-tech security risks” and “no longer allow into most sections of its headquarters in the UK and abroad”.

This policy kicked in when the MoD “switched to the USB-friendly Microsoft XP operating system over the past year”. And it’s not just the chaps from the MoD: Bernhard also quotes a survey of 200 mid-sized and large UK companies by security software firm Reflex Magnetics that says 82 percent of respondents said they regard so-called mobile media devices like the iPod as a security threat.

And it’s not just stealing stuff: Bernhard says technology consultancy Gartner a week ago “advised companies to consider banning the devices because they can also unwittingly introduce computer viruses to a corporate network”.

This all makes sense, but if you’re going to ban the iPod, you’re going to have to ban USB keychains, USB pens, microdrives and other small forms of storage. What about PDAs? What about smart phones?

14. July 2004 by jeremy
Categories: Devices | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 comments

Comments (4)

  1. Perfectly stated.

  2. But, it does not have to be a matter of banning them on the corporate network, that is just not possible as many of the devices are critical to business. There are products like DeviceWall (www.devicewall.com) which allo an admin to control what devices are allowed on various systems, it even provides the ability to provide it for a short period of time and even audits what is downloaded to the devices.

  3. DeviceWall is not a solutions since it could be easily disabled by experienced users. Moreover, DeviceWall doesn’t provide needed granularity – it can’t white list USB devices. There are a lot of other much more powerful solutions on the market: Securewave, DeviceLock (http://www.devicelock.com), etc.

    DeviceWall is the weakest device control software. The review is available at: http://www.securitybyte.com/articles/device_control_solutions.ehtml

  4. The comment above comes from a reseller of a competing product to DeviceWall, also the comparison article that is linked to was written by yet another reseller. The best way to find out which product is best and will truly meet your technical requiremenst is to download the free trials and see for yourself. DeviceWall does have white listing, as well as anti-tamper features and also has built in USB encryption.