The 3 Biggest Misconceptions About USBs

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USB flash drives are an essential tool that can help any organization manage, share, and control their data more efficiently. But they are also often misunderstood. Not a lot of people understand how USBs work, and misconceptions about how fragile & vulnerable this technology is persists.

At All USB, we’ve heard our fair share of misinformation about USB flash drives. We have the experience and the know-how to separate fact from fiction. Don’t believe what you’ve heard: Here are three of the biggest misconceptions about USBs.

Misconception #1: “USB Connectors are fragile”

This is a common concern we hear from customers. “What if the USB connectors break off?” It’s a reasonable question, when you consider how much wear and tear a normal flash drive goes through. Being repeatedly inserted and removed from ports seems like it would put the USB’s connectors at risk over time. But the truth is that USB connectors are actually often times the MOST durable part of a flash drive!

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The USB connector on all flash drives are made from metal that is very resistant to damage or bending. In most cases the most hardy and durable component in a flash drive is the connector! The cases of many drives are made out of plastics or mixed materials that are much more likely to break down over serious wear and tear.

The same thing goes for the inside of the USB. The guts of your flash drive will most likely be much more fragile than your connector. That isn’t to say that your connector can’t be damaged; Like any other piece of technology, it can only take so much abuse before it falls apart. They are designed to be tough, though. So long as you keep your USB out of extreme temperatures or don’t drop it from great heights it should hold up just fine.

Misconception #2: “Water will ruin your USBs”

There IS a kernel of truth in this idea. Will exposing your USB flash drive to water destroy it? No… UNLESS the USB drive is plugged in. A USB drive that’s powered on will break when immersed in water. But a USB drive that’s not in use could be dropped in a glass of water or a running sink and be just fine, so long as it is cared for properly. Don’t just take our word for it: Here’s a great video showing what happens when they get dropped into a lake!

The right aftercare is essential for preserving your data. Take your wet drive and dry it as much as possible with a piece of paper towel. This will sponge up excess moisture. After you’ve toweled off your drive, put it in a sealable bag or jar of uncooked rice or silica gel for 24 hours. The uncooked rice will draw out and absorb any lingering moisture inside your flash drive; Silica gel has similarly astounding moisture-absorbing properties. Store your container in a warm, dry place.

Check your drive after 24 hours. If you still see or feel any moisture, leave it in the container for another 24 hours. Repeat this process until your drive is completely drive. One alternative to ensure a faster dry time is to open up your flash drive! Use a small flat-blade screwdriver to separate the two halves of your drive’s case. You can then use a paper towel to dry the inside of the case before putting it in a container with silica gel or rice. We’d only recommend opening your drive if you’re comfortable doing careful work with a screwdriver, cause you could risk permanently damaging your USB if you aren’t careful.

Regardless of whether or not you opt to open up your USB, it’s very important that you dry your USB drive. While your data won’t necessarily be at risk right away, water can over time corrode the metal parts holding your drive together. But so long as you act quickly and effectively, a bit of water will NOT ruin your USB. And don’t worry if the flash memory chip itself comes into contact with water: Most memory chips are designed to be waterproof!

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Misconception #3: “Magnets can damage or erase USB Drives.”

A magnet should pose no threat to your flash drive. The data in your USB drive is stored as electric charges- The information is contained within pieces of metal that are given either an excess or a deficiency of electrons. An unmoving magnetic field, regardless of its strength, would not be able to affect these electric charges.

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IF you were to expose your flash drive to a powerful enough MOVING magnetic field, it could induce electrical currents that could erase your data or damage the flash drive’s circuits. But in order for that to happen, your flash drive would have to be exposed to a piece of machinery like an MRI machine or a microwave oven. Household magnets and most other items you’ll use on a daily basis with magnetic properties pose zero threat to your USBs.

Part of the reason why this misconception is so prevalent comes down to magnetic tape. In the past a lot of data storage technology and computers stored their information on magnetic tape, which CAN be erased by magnets. But as memory chips and technology have gotten more sophisticated, magnetic tape has become far less common and tends to be saved for archival purposes now. The vast majority of personal electronics you use (esp. your flash drives!) don’t use magnetic tape.

In Conclusion

USB drives may be small, humble little devices but they are built to last! If you have any questions about what could effect your USB drive, send us a message. We’d love to answer any questions you may have about flash drive use and safety.

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Death By Data: The USB That Could Kill Your PC

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Do you know where your USB has been? You may want to think twice about plugging in a USB whose origins you can’t account for: A company in Hong Kong has developed a USB drive that can fry your computer!

It’s the ultimate Trojan horse for hackers and vandals. On the outside, the USB Kill 2.0 looks like any other USB device. Once it gets inserted into a USB port, it’s true nature is quickly revealed. It collects power from the USB power lines, absorbing energy from 5V and 1-3A lines, until it reaches ~240V. When it hits that voltage, it discharges the stored energy into the USB data lines. The USB Kill does this charge/discharge cycle multiple times per sound, and will continue to wreak havoc on your computer until the device breaks the circuit in its host machine.

Most modern computers are very vulnerable to these energy surges. The USB Kill’s rapid discharging can cause severe damage to hard drives and destroy your SoC (System On Chip, the heart and brain of your machine). While many modern motherboards include overcurrent protection, this usually protects them against positive voltage which can leave them extremely vulnerable to USB Kills with negative voltage.

According to the creators of this computer killer, the USB Kill was developed as a testing device to see how USB ports can hold up against power surge attacks. They strongly condemn using the USB Kill for malicious purposes. That being said: The early production runs for the USB Kill have already sold out! The demand for these devices is great, so great that the company also plans to sell a USB Kill Tester Shield. They claim that this device will prevent the USB Kill from functioning, and that it will also protect user data from intrusion or snooping when it’s connected to other devices or unknown charging stations.

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Now here’s the good news: The odds of you ever stumbling across or falling victim to a USB Kill are very slim. Just one USB Kill costs around $56! Their high cost plus their overseas-only availability makes it highly unlikely that they’ll ever get widely circulated. And do you know what the greatest defense against USB Kill is? Common sense. So long as you aren’t plugging in random USBs you’ve found on the street into your computer (which you probably shouldn’t be doing, anyway), you should be fine.

 

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ADATA Launches Military Grade USB 3.0 Hard Drive

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adata-hd710a-hard-driveNo, it’s not an April Fool’s Day joke. On Wednesday, April 1st, ADATA launched the new HD710A Waterproof / Dustproof / Shock-Resistant USB 3.0 External Hard Drive. ADATA’s HD710A is an ultra-durable external hard drive designed especially for Macbook. It comes with large storage capacities of 1TB or 2TB, provides superior data transfer speeds, and also undergoes stringent tests for waterproofing, dustproofing and shock resistance. The HD710A is the ultimate in portable protection for your data!

Military Rugged, Reliable, Better Than Ever
Designed especially for active users of Apple Macintosh platforms, the HD710A provides rugged protection from shock, dust and water. The triple-layer construction of the HD710A incorporates exceptionally elastic silicone material to provide great shock absorption from all angles. By passing the MIL-STD-810G 516.6 military-grade shock-resistant test, the HD710A ensures your data’s safety even after unexpectedly suffering a shock.

It has also passed the stringent IP68 test, offering excellent water and dust resistant protection. Thanks to the durable design, the HD710A works normally even in a dusty environment or after being submerged in its storage state in meter-deep water for up to 30 minutes. When not in use, the USB cable tucks into a wrap-around exterior slot in the drive casing, providing an elegant storage solution that matches the highly practical characteristics of the device.

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Toshiba Debuts TransMemory Pro USB 3.0 Flash Drive

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Toshiba is a major player in the NAND flash memory market. Recently, they announced a new line of TransMemory® drives that boasts some serious speeds.

With read speeds of 222 MB/s and write speeds of 205 MB/s, the TransMemory drives take full advantage of USB 3.0’s incredible transfer speeds. At this rate, copying large files such as games, music, photos, and system backups will take a lot less time than ever before.

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SanDisk Announces Ultra Dual USB Drive for Android Devices

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As smartphones and tablets are getting amazingly thinner and faster every day, the amount we use these devices is also increasing. That means we’re storing more data on them than ever before.

Every Android device comes with some amount of built-in memory, usually somewhere between 4GB and 16GB. Most phones and tablets have the option to expand their storage capacity with a MicroSD card slot.

However, many newer Android devices – such as Google’s Nexus family of phones – have fixed internal storage only. This can be a problem for power users, who may find themselves running out of space on their mobile devices.

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