Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Javier Arrospide. Arrospide is CEO of Advanced Systems International and lead author of USB Lock RP, a piece of software designed to protect information contained in network personal computers (PCs). In our interview, Arrospide explained his product and gave some background information on the threats USB Lock RP seeks to counter.
USB Lock software has been available since 2004. As such, it was one of the first pieces of software to focus on Universal Serial Bus (USB) control.
Arrospide recognized the need for his product following the advent of “plug-and-play” (PnP), or the ability of computers to configure a piece of hardware automatically. Microsoft first enabled PnP on its Windows 95 version, whereas Apple Macintosh products have always supported this capability. From the very beginning, the use of USB data devices constituted a huge advantage for businesses. USB sticks were portable and hence great for transporting information. As a result, they were a quick and easy way whereby clients could give employees the information they needed to perform a particular job.
However, there was a problem. Businesses began to worry that employees might be tempted to steal company information using their USB devices. They needed to figure out a way by which they could protect against this insider threat.
Enter USB Lock RP. This software is advantageous in that it allows companies to grant specific permissions to specific USB devices. IT personnel can then monitor whichever users activate these devices—and for how long—from a custom control center employable via the software. USB Lock RP also protects against unauthorized use on other interfaces, including firewire, e-Sata, DVD, Bluetooth, and WiFi.
As a result, all unauthorized devices when plugged in to a company’s network call up a black screen with the customer’s logo in the top left corner. A message denying the device’s authorization is presented to the user, which then sends an alert email to either the command center or a business email at any time of day.
A demo of the technology can be found on the company’s website here.
Today, over 500 companies use USB Lock RP. BP Norway, for example, wanted to find a way to protect is supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) units, computers which help oil platforms and other critical infrastructure to function. BP Norway ultimately went with USB Lock RP because, unlike other companies, USB Lock RP does not tie its software to the internet. Instead its software functions like a database on a business’s premises, allowing IT personnel to monitor the activity of and authorize different devices themselves. As such, USB Lock RP gives companies direct control over the software and servers necessary for information control.
Following the lead of BP Norway, BP Netherlands, BP Europe SA, and BP UK also chose to use USB Lock RP. As such, this technology protects most if not all of British Petroleum’s oil operations in the North Sea.
USB Lock RP is also one of the only pieces of USB control software that personalizes block screens and relevant boxes with a customer’s logo. This builds USB Lock RP into a company’s policy and gives each and every client a feeling of personalized control.
The ideal candidates for USB Lock RP software are businesses with 300-600 unit computer networks. The technology is available for download on a variety of websites, including CNET, Computer Lockdown, and Tucows.
The second part of our interview will be published in the coming weeks.
David Bisson |
Bio: David is currently a senior at Bard College, where he is studying Political Studies and writing his senior thesis on cyberwar and cross-domain escalation. He also works at the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College as an Outreach intern. Post-graduation, David would like to leverage his extensive journalism experience as well as his interest in computer coding and social media to pursue a career in cyber security, both its practice and policy