​Victorian police warn of harmful letterbox USB drives

Police in Victoria have issued a warning to residents following recent reports of malicious USB drives left in letterboxes.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The Victorian police force has issued a warning for citizens to be wary of USB drives left in their letterboxes.

The warning comes after reports emerged last week that residents in the suburb of Pakenham found the corrupt, unmarked drives and inserted them into their computers.

"Upon inserting the USB drives into their computers victims have experienced fraudulent media streaming service offers, as well as other serious issues," Victoria Police said in a statement.

"The USB drives are believed to be extremely harmful and members of the public are urged to avoid plugging them into their computers or other devices."

It is unknown at this stage what the fraudulent media streaming service offers or other serious issues are, or what state the USB drives leave the computer in after insertion.

A police spokesperson told ZDNet that no further information was available at this time, and reiterated the importance of anyone with information about those behind the scam to contact Crime Stoppers.

Image: Victoria Police

A few years ago, the Western Australian Auditor General conducted a security exercise which saw USB sticks left in public places with software on them to phone home when used.

Eight of fifteen government agencies involved failed the test, with agency staff connecting the USB sticks to their computers, allowing the devices to access their agency's network.

The US Department of Defence had followed part of the 2011 Australian exercise, releasing computer disks and USB sticks in the parking lots of government buildings and private contractors to see how well its security would hold up.

Like Australia's poor performance, 60 percent of the US devices picked up found their way into government and private contractor computers.

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