A recent review of online retailers shows 2GB USB flash drives selling for under $10.00, CD/DVD-RW drives for only $30.00 and CD-R media for under $0.20 a piece. Couple this with the growing community of open source software developers and portable operating systems are becoming a real threat to information security. This paper examines the threat of portable operating systems to computers and computer networks, as well as the security measures available to prevent such exploits. The research examines the different types of portable operating systems and the available portable media such as USB flash drives, CD-R/RWs, portable media players, and micro hard drives. It also explores the available sources of programs and instructions for utilizing portable executables. In all these examples, the paper provides hands on research, examples, and screen captures of actual running portable operating systems, as well as the steps required to duplicate the exercise.
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