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­sb Fingerprints Identify 'pod Slurping' Data Thieves

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Credit: Jeffrey Coolidge / Getty Images

Intellectual property thieves who engage in so-called pod-slurping attacks leave a "USB fingerprint," according to Vasilios Katos and Theodoros Kavallaris of the Democritus University of Thrace in Greece.

The researchers found that every USB stick and iPod or iPhone has a distinctive transfer rate when copying data from a PC's hard drive, due to differences in microcircuitry and the components of each device. By consulting the Windows registry, a company would be able to determine whether its files have been copied. Document folders for any file can be checked after a USB device has been plugged in as the computer registry counts copying as file access.

A pod-slurping attack can be assumed to have taken place when the time it took to access all files matches the transfer rate of the USB stick or iPod plugged into the PC at that point. Kavallaris plans to automate Windows registry trawling, which would make it easier to determine which files have been copied.

From New Scientist
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