The Next Step in Cybersecurity Protection

Honeywell releases a new cybersecurity solution for malicious USB attacks

Many companies rely on USBs in order to share information, but many criminals rely on them as well. USB devices, including flash drives and charging cables, can be used to introduce malware to a system. Those using a USB with malware may even be unaware that it contains malware and could cause harm. That’s where Honeywell and its new product come in. Honeywell recently announced the release of SMX (Secure Media Exchange). According to a study by Honeywell, SMX could improve detection of malware by up to 40percent, compared to traditional anti-virus solutions. This could provide huge improvements in cybersecurity for many companies in different industries.

How USB Attacks Work

To understand how SMX works, it’s important to understand how USB attacks work. First of all, there is not just one type of USB Attack. There are many ways for USB attacks to occur. It is likely that the future will hold even more ways for these attacks to occur. The ultimate goal of many types of USB attacks, though, especially those attacking businesses, is to access the Industrial Control System (ICS). ICS is a general term used to describe types of control systems used in industries, including telecommunications, power generation, and chemical processing. Each ICS is different, but once malware has reached the ICS, it has the potential to cause extensive amounts of damage.

Most technology currently on the market attempts to detect malware on malicious USBs, but new types of USB attacks are directly attacking the ICS and have ways to circumvent the technology that is supposed to detect malware. According to Honeywell’s global product marketing manager, Sam Wilson, “Malicious USB attacks are increasingly sinister in their ability to emulate, exploit and manipulate USB devices, often causing damage and operational outages.” So, how is SMX different?

How SMX Works

SMX includes advanced malware detection that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help detect more types of potential malware technology, including zero days and malicious malware. Though this advanced malware detection technology can help decrease the number of USB attacks, what sets the technology apart is that it includes Trusted Response User Substantiation Technology. TRUST technology requires whoever is using the USB to validate and authenticate the USB. Combining AI with human knowledge is becoming a trend in many fields and can lend a human element to technology, thereby increasing the potential of both. The TRUST technology trains those using a USB to look for potential issues every time they use a USB. This simple step could lead to a huge potential decrease in the number of USB attacks that affect companies. As well as TRUST technology, SMX also includes new centralized management, ICS shield integration and an expanded SMX offering.

Honeywell demonstrated its new technology March 3 at the RSA Conference in San Diego. To learn more, visit the company’s website.