Pod Slurping : A New Threat
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The world is threatened by nuclear arms, global warming, warring nations, and crash of economies, drought, famine and floods. Another new threat has emerged. This one is called pod slurping. Pod slurping is to use a storage devise like an ipod to download confidential information in an illicit manner. The device is directly plugged into the system and it is usually capable of evading a firewall. MP3 players are also used to these ends. A US expert named Abe Usher coined the name pod slurping in 2005. He built a software that runs on iPod, scans the network to transfer large chunks of data onto a 60 GB hard drive.

In an experiment a python application was written in order to automate the copying process. This is a slurp that looks for “Documents and Settings” in all files and folders. This 'exe' file is used to copy all the files on the system and it takes just a minute to copy it onto an iPod. This does not even require a username and password.

There are only two ways in which pod slurping can be curtained, by policy based measures and by technology based methods. A policy based measure would restrict use of removable storage devices in the workplace and bringing in physical security measures that prevent unauthorized access to any system. Technological preventions could be disabling USB connections in the BIOS, usage of third party software to prevent unauthorized access to systems, usage of encryption in order to maintain confidentiality of data, and placing all data on protected network rather than on shared networks.

$56.6 million have been lost in identity thefts in 2005 alone. Pod slurping can be used to glean a 100 MB file in 2 minutes. The problem with pod slurping is that about 70% of them are performed by employees. Theft of intellectual property is known to be the fourth highest influence on the economy of a firm.

All companies are technically on a high alert to protect their systems from such threats.

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