IBM bans USB, SD cards, flash drives and all other portable devices from every office, worldwide


Originally published at:


I have for a long time said about them wow what a great way for IP to just walk out the door.


I guess they could rig their development Raspberry Pis and similar devices to net-boot…


They’ve been banned at my workplaces for quite a while now.

A few of us are exempt from the ban, though, and always will be.


When I worked for them (back when IBM made PCs in the US), someone brought a virus in on a floppy drive and fouled up our test hardware.

The SIMMs used to walk out the door (including in my shirt pocket once, by accident*) and then they put airport-style checkpoints at the exits (the queue for which was after we were already off-the-clock, natch). They also kept an inventory and checked it at the end of each shift. The losses actually went up, but presumably this was because they now had an actual measurement.

*(no, really)

P.S. A floppy-vectored virus showed up a couple years later, at my next job on a help desk, supporting a state agency. We had an increasing number of calls about the “Wazzu” virus (itself based on the “Prank” Word macro). The state agency couldn’t do anything about it right away, because they had no more budget with which to buy statewide antivirus software. They had a closed network so no one figured they’d need it. Turned out that Wazzu arrived on a floppy disk, and they even figured out who was logged in at the time, but that person had an alibi (although not for leaving their PC unattended).


Let’s hope they provide sufficient storage space on their cloud applications, otherwise this ban will require them to fire all of their employees.


They’ve been long gone here. For a few years now. Why the delay?

Loosing these devices is the least of their worries.


At IBM, portable storage devices like a USB, SD card, or flash drive are no longer welcome. As in banned, for security reasons. In the next few weeks IBM will be barring these items from the workplace worldwide.

Will they be banning USB phone charging cables, too? Or perhaps banning mobile phones? This Shamla Naidoo is quite the chief information security officer – maybe if she’s still there in another 8 years she’ll figure out that exfiltration method, too.


International Business Machines*

*no actual machines included


We’re living in The Age of The Leak. This is IBM’s way of controlling e-documents that talk about any IBM sexual discrimination/assaults/improprieties. They can catch it in the cloud and manage it.


I presume that they lockout the USB ports from random devices. Still, there are plenty of ways to get information between two computing devices.


Today I learned that IBM is still in business.

Also, my wife works for [LARGE CONSULTING COMPANY] and they did this a couple years ago, with a very small exception list (usually situational). Large network activity up or down, and anything else potentially suspicious is also monitored, thanks to a couple big hacks. The most famous one involved the North Koreans and a certain movie getting released for free because someone opened a phishing email link.


Apparently they think no IBM employees are competent or determined enough to come up with ways to use their extremely powerful pocket computers to do so.

My guess is that this little security theatre piece is really about getting more employees to dogfood IBM’s cloud storage product while simultaneously showing the markets that IBM is serious about infosec. Which is fine, but reminds me of why I left corporate life and all its dumbshow BS.


I’m glad I don’t work there anymore. I have experience with employees using the same IT solutions they provide to their customers, and it often involves spending three days on the phone with people in India to get back into your account.




And use PS/2 mice and keyboards?


They probably use Group Policy to disable USB mass storage.


No problem…


You monster…


They have an office in my town. I’m gonna hang a flash drive from my rear-view mirror and drive real slow around their parking lot for a while.