Cyber Security

When on the move protect your removables

Cyber safety tips for removable devices

Removable devices are a convenient way for employees to access personal and business data on the go. Portable devices such as USB sticks, smartphones, SD cards and external hard drives have enabled us to copy and transfer data, take it off site and conduct day to day business outside the secure perimeters of the office.

As the use of these devices has increased, so have the associated risks. The very properties that make these devices portable and enable them to connect to various networks, also make them vulnerable to network security breaches.

Failure to effectively manage the import and export of data could expose an organisation to the following risks:

  • Loss of Information – Removable media devices can easily be lost resulting in the compromise of large volumes of sensitive information.
  • Introduction of malware – The uncontrolled use of removable devices can increase the risk of malware being transferred to critical business systems.
  • Reputational damage – The loss of sensitive data can erode customer confidence in the organisation, resulting in significant reputational damage.
  • Financial loss – If sensitive information is lost or compromised the organisation could be subjected to financial penalties.

Dangers of portable storage devices

Mobile phones, digital cameras, optical discs, USB flash drives & external storage devices are plug-and-play devices that could be infected with apps or malware without your knowledge.

How do external media get infected with malware?

  • Using shared or multiple computers.
  • Using unauthorised peer-to-peer file sharing software.
  • Opening infected email attachments and image files.
  • Clicking infected links and downloads on the internet.

Safety tips on how to handle removable devices

To ensure that company data is safe and secure, employees should follow the below guidelines when handling removable devices:


Limit the use of all removable media devices except when specifically authorised.


Where possible apply password protection. 
Safeguard sensitive information and restrict access, ensure that removable devices are protected with strong passwords.


Never copy files to removable devices unless it is necessary or authorised.


Be cautious of USB or memory cards received as gifts.


Only use secure USB drives. Never use the same flash drives at home and work, you run the risk of cross contaminating your Sappi data and computer.


Never leave removable devices lying around. Lock it securely when not in use.


Never attempt to access files from any removable device that you may have found. It may contain a virus that could infect computer systems with malware.


When using Bluetooth, set it to the “non-discoverable” mode to hide the device from unauthenticated devices.


Report missing devices immediately, so they can be cleared of all data.


Ensure any home antivirus software is always 
up to date.

How to prevent external devices from getting infected with malware

  • Install recommended antivirus software on ALL your personal devices.
  • Always keep anti-virus software and devices updated.
  • Regularly run virus scans on your home computer and all personal devices.
  • Never plug an unknown device or mobile phone into your network computer, as they might contain viruses or malware.

How to remove malware from your computer and external media

Scan the media and your computer with anti-spyware software, such as 
Ad-aware, Spybot etc.

Cyber Security is a team sport