Just under half of all people can be relied upon to give into curiosity and plug unknown USB sticks into their computers.
This is a problem because, as we covered in the October 2016 issue of Industry Update, an unknown USB could contain quite literally any program, virus, or malware. Plugging any of those into your computer could give a hacker access to your whole system, or just break your computer.
“It's easy to laugh at these attacks, but the scary thing is that they work—and that's something that needs to be addressed,” said Matt Tischer, a computer researcher from the University of Illinois.
And indeed, they do work; recently, Victorian police have released a notification that there has been a recent spate of 'malicious' USB's placed in letter boxes around the state.
“The USB drives are believed to be extremely harmful and members of the public are urged to avoid plugging them into their computers or other devices,” read an official release.
Anyone who plugs one of those devices into their computer will be presented with “fraudulent media streaming service offers, as well as other serious issues."
This is an issue that can potentially breach even the most sophisticated of security systems; a USB that's plugged directly into a computer bypasses a great deal of the security measures that companies set up to prevent hacks and breaches.
It only takes a single curious person to plug in a USB they found on the ground, or on their desk, and an entire system can be infected with malware, keyloggers, or simply have its security and account data compromised.
Do yourself, and your company, a favour. If you find an unknown USB, ask around and find out if anyone owns it, but don't plug it into your own computer 'just to check'.