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How To: Make a USB Read Only

There are two ways to make a USB stick read only. One way is a universal solution and is 100% permanent, the other way is PC specific and a good deterrent. When we say 100% permanent, this means the USB stick is read only (write protected) on all computers, whether it be a Mac, PC, Linux, etc type computer, the USB is read only and the status cannot be changed. The other method flags a USB device to be read only in relationship to the PC it is connected to so that whenever that USB stick is connected to that computer, it makes the USB read only and blocks all write commands to the device.

Most times an IT manager or content owner wants the USB stick to be read only so the files cannot be deleted or formatted off the drive. Another reason for making a USB read only is for the original files to remain the same and blocks the ability for files to be changed or manipulated. Finally, it’s smart to have USBs read only so that virus’ don’t jump onto the drive and possibly spread to other computers.

Let us start with the less permanent way because it’s easier to do and doesn’t require any specific hardware. You will need a Windows7 machine or higher. The Windows7 machine will have DiskPart utility which allows us to perform all sorts of cool things to flash drives, like setting write protection.

  • Connect the USB to your Windows computer.
  • To begin, go to your Windows Start and in the Search Field type “cmd”

This will run your Command prompt.

  • Next, you will want to get to the C root of the Command prompt and if you are signed in as a user you can simply type cd\ this will get you back to the root of the C drive.
  • Type DISKPART
  • Type LIST DISK

Now you will need to find the USB stick connected to your PC. Most likely it’s DISK 1

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Stand alone Windows Password Reset Tool

One of the most classic and – yet still perversely prevalent – issues IT staff face is resetting Windows passwords for users who have forgotten them (again). While remote administration has reduced the need to physically reactivate and reset passwords in most scenarios, a copy of L0phtcrack still remains in every experienced admins ‘toolbox’. Of course, having to reboot the system and use a copy of Bart PE or other portable OS’ to run L0phtcrack has a PITA factor all its own. USB key reset tool   Well, it seems that entrepreneur Jonty Lovell has done something about it as the all new – and fully funded – Password Reset Key has been designed to take the hassle out of this common issue. In fact, as long as you have physical access to the system even home owners can now reset their forgotten password within mere moments. The secret to the Password Reset Key is the fact that it combines a key shaped 1GB flash drive – available in black, stainless steel, or ‘gold’ – with a simple OS that auto-loads his custom software upon startup. Just as with L0phtcrack, with a simple click or three, you can scan, reset and even test how secure a given systems login passwords are. Because of its ‘key’ form factor, it will be hard to lose as you can simply stick on your keychain and always have it close at hand. However, be warned that this $15 – $50 device (depending on which option to choose) may get you in trouble with your IT staff as resetting the ‘administrator’ password will greatly ‘annoy’ them if they find out. Continue Reading

Protecting IP on USB

The above InfoGraph was provided by Nexcopy Company and highlights the current and services available for protecting intellectual property on USB flash media, or USB Copy Protection.  The concept behind this USB copy protection solution is the ability to share digital files on a flash drive with others, but restrict their ability to pass along that information. With the above solution a user can protect different file types which are the most popular multimedia files such as PDF, MP3, QuickTime, MP4, M4V, html, flash and some other listed.  This post is not intended as advertising, but a share of products and services about USB copy protection available on the market today. Continue Reading

BlurPort Is Gate Keeper For Your USB Things

BlurPort is putting a cool twist to securing your USB devices.  From flash drives to hard drives BlurPort has you covered. The product can be found (and funded) on Kickstarter right now.  The concept is the BlurPort device is an 8GB stick…but it’s more.  The BlurPort uses a multi-factor authentication method to unlock your digital content.  Meaning you need the knowledge of the password and you need a physical device to act as the token.  What is the physical device you ask?  Simple:  your smartphone. The BlurPort app on your phone will offer many different ways to authenticate yourself, from facial recognition and eye scanning to NFC tokens, even pattern trace passwords. So who wants another 8GB flash drive…well the BlurPort can also grant access to your USB hard drive and other storage devices.  By removing the tail end of the BlurPort you now have a female USB socket for connecting another USB peripheral.  This is where we believe the product is very unique.  The BlurPort (now you can understand the name) is the gate-keeper for all your USB devices.  It’s the digital road block to access and only your dual authentication will grant access. Work flow after the jump: Continue Reading

Clean Windows Registry of USB Drives

Here is a great tool for cleaning Windows Registry of USB drive entries. The program runs in the Windows console and removes all devices that are not currently connected.

To clean up the Windows registry of a USB flash drive, or other USB devices can make your system boot faster and run faster.

For example, each time you connect a USB printer to a different USB port on your PC there are registry entries made which associate the device with the drivers. Windows is trying to be smart and log this information so the next time you connect the device, Windows will know exactly what to do. Meaning when you connect the printer a second time, you don’t see the balloon from Windows saying “Installing Brother driver” or something, it’s just connected and ready to go.

But, for example, lets say you connect your Nikon camera to your PC and you use a different USB port each time, now you have a bunch of registry entries that can make your PC boot slower, run slower or possible give you trouble with that external device.

With all this said, if you are having trouble with a USB drive, or a USB camera, printer or scanner, the first thing you’ll probably want to do is run this Windows registry cleaner utility. Good chance it will solve your problems.

Download Now

System Requirements:
WinXP / Vista / Win7
Writes settings to:
Does not write files to host computer
Dependencies:
Administrator rights
License:
Freeware
How to extract:
Download the ZIP package and extract to a folder of your choice. Launch drivecleanup.exe either in the ‘Win32’ folder or ‘x64’ folder.

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IronKey Workspace Windows 8 PC on a Stick

ComputerWorld did a nice write up about the IronKey Workspace product for Windows 8 operating system. Read the full article here.
“IronKey storage devices have also been validated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to meet the stringent Level 3 criteria of FIPS 140-2. Combined with the cloud -based IronKey Enterprise Management Service, data security can be managed and audited from anywhere in the world. The IronKey Workspace flash drive, however, is not FIPS-certified.”
The IronKey will boot from any PC or Mac computer.  Boots in about 35 seconds but has an initial configuration time of about 4 minutes. Continue Reading

USB Copy Protection by Nexcopy

Nexcopy has released a USB Copy Protection solution for those who need to share files, but without giving the “receiver” full ability to copy and re-distribute. The great thing about a USB flash drive is file sharing.  They are great for copy and saving and taking files on the road.  This same convenience factor also makes it very difficult to have Digital Rights Management as well.  With Nexcopy’s USB Copy Protection, it’s not difficult any longer! First, lets explain the difference between write protection and USB copy protection.  Some thing it’s the same, but it’s not. USB write protection [also called data lock] means the files cannot be deleted off the drive…it also means files cannot be added to the drive.  But you can still copy the files off the drive to your desktop or hard drive. USB copy protection provides the same functionality as write protection, but in addition, does not allow Continue Reading

Old School Wax Seal for USB FlashDrive

The original wax seals were simply melted beeswax poured over the flap of a letter. The wax would range in color from nearly transparent to brown, depending on the quality of the wax. In the 11th century, artisans began adding colors to the waxes, such as red and black. These first seals were not tamper-proof, however, as the letter could be opened and then resealed with similar wax. For this reason, stamps or seals were created so people could impress their personal design or crest into the warm wax, making forgery difficult. Today you can apply the same tradition to technology.  The Top Secret USB drive with wax seal is that device.  The USB flashdrive is made of high quality porcelain, finished off with a beautifull wax stamp containing the logo. Besides the original white porcelain version there is also a black variant. Either one is available with red, orange, pink, blue or green wax seal. We also make Top Secret USB flashdrive for special occasions, like for a wedding: white with a silver wax seal. The top secret USB flashdrive in light blue or pink are designed as a gift for a newborn. All usb sticks are sealed standard with the original Top Secret ‘TS’ logo. There is the possibility of choosing your own design, letters or images. The Top Secret USB flashdrive are available with either 2, 4 or 8 gigabytes of memory. Continue Reading

Microsoft With USB Anti-Malware RootKit

Microsoft has made available a new version of “Defender” to ride infected computers of malware, including rootkits which highjack your boot process and corrupt your computer. The “Defender Offline Beta” is available from Microsoft for free [here] and does require updates as virus definitions are always changing. Definitions are files that provide an encyclopedia of potential software threats. Because new threats appear daily, it’s important to always have the most up-to-date definitions installed in Windows Defender Offline Beta. Armed with definition files, Windows Defender Offline Beta can detect malicious and potentially unwanted software, and then notify you of the risks. The Redmond company suggests you make a USB drive with the Defender Offline Beta software from a PC which is not infected.  Doing so on a corrupted computer could interfere with the USB and yield the Microsoft tool useless. To use Windows Defender Offline Beta, you need to follow four basic steps: Continue Reading

Never Forget Your USB With USB Guard

In a mad rush, I’ve logged off my computer, shut down the PC and ran out the door.  All the while with my USB stick still connected.  The USB stick with all my photo’s, portable applications and the exe file I promised to give my neighbor.  Getting home, I reach for my flash drive in pocket, and oh Sh1t it isn’t there. Or some of you may be using USB’s to boot from so there is boot strap code on the device.  If the USB is connected during bootup of your PC, you can get an error message…and for a non-tech person [wife or girlfriend] they may think their computer has crashed. The only way around all this stuff is making sure to pull the USB out of your computer. With USB Guard this is exactly what it does, reminds you a USB flashdrive is connected before you log off, or power down the PC. You can also flag USB hard drives so they too are never forgotten. Continue Reading

Imation Acquires IronKey Hardware Security Solution

IronKey has long been known as the ultimate in data storage and security for content loaded on a flash drive.  With hardware encryption, self destruct safety protocols for incorrect passwords and AES 256 data encryption it’s no wonder those who need the ultimate in data security go to IronKey.  Well no longer says Imation. Under the agreement, Imation will receive exclusive license rights from IronKey for the secure storage management software and service along with licensing to use the IronKey brand for its secure storage products. While Imation is bringing the IronKey brand to a global distribution channel, IronKey will accelerate their focus on cloud-based security tools and features.  IronKey will support Continue Reading

USB Dongle Lockbox from Lucas

Press Release

Lucas Distribution, LLC a worldwide distributor of office equipment and security hardware, announces Dongle Lockbox to secure USB dongle keys. Atlanta, GA (PRWEB) June 09, 2011 Lucas Distribution, LLC, an Atlanta-based worldwide distributor of office products and equipment, recently launched the Dongle Lockbox to keep USB dongle keys secure. “Dongle keys are used by software developers to protect their software from piracy. Today, virtually all dongle keys are USB type and must be plugged into an available USB port on your PC or Laptop computer to run the software program,” said Sales and Marketing Manager Dave Lucas. “If you misplace your dongle key or if it is stolen, your software is now unusable. At the very least you will have to purchase a new dongle key and worst case you will have to purchase the software again.” In addition to the cost of replacing software, areas of business that need this software cannot function until the replacement package is received and reinstalled on the computer. Now there is a solution available to alleviate concerns and mitigate risks – the USB Dongle Lockbox. The Dongle Lockbox Kit consists of a secure ABS plastic enclosure, 6 foot USB Extender, combination lock with steel locking cable, and Flex Foot & Cable Nut to use as an anchor point. Dongle Lockboxes are available in 2 styles:
  • Single lockbox – secures 1 dongle key
  • Double lockbox – secures 2 dongle keys
The combination lock is user-changeable and as an added free service, Lucas Distribution will maintain a record of new combinations when USB Dongle Lockboxes are registered with them. If a combination is misplaced or forgotten, Lucas Distribution will provide the registered combination after verifying proper identity. Continue Reading

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USB copy protection with digital rights management for data loaded on USB flash drives.

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