It’s not recommended that you use a USB memory stick for confidential data.
Also, you ought to keep your entertainment and study related USB drives separate. Don’t use your study related flash drives in Internet cafes and alike.
You can make your USB memory stick (= Flash/USB/thumb drive), more secure by using encryption: There are dozens of software available for this task. E.g. TrueCrypt (Open Source sw) does the job. There are also some flash drives available on the market that has a software for encryption already installed.
If you lose your USB stick, you might get it back if you have written your phone number and/or e-mail address on the side of your USB stick.
NB. If you find an USB stick, you should be aware that it might include some malware: you should not connect any unknown flash drives to school computers and it is not advisable to connect them to your own computer either, unless you are well prepared and your computer is properly protected.
If you use your USB stick on a public computer, you ought to know that a computer could be made to copy all the files from your stick, regardless your files are encrypted or not.
Make it your habit to remove the USB memoryfrom the computer immediately you have finished working, so you won’t forget to remove it. You might attach your USB stick to a long key chain that is attached to e.g. to your bag.
If you don’t want any viruses to infect your USB memory, you can (in some sticks) put your stick to a write protected state. Then of course you can’t write new files to your stick either.
Here’s how to remove your USB stick safely (Windows):
- Close all files you accessed from stick. (Remember to save if needed)
- Right-click the “USB” icon. It is typically located on the bottom right of your taskbar. A pop-up menu should appear: click “Safely Remove Hardware.” (Or you could also right-click the flash drive icon in Windows Explorer or My Computer view)
- Choose Remove (Poista in Finnish)
- Now you can remove your USB stick.
If the computer is still prosessing data on the flash drive when you remove the flash drive, the data could get corrupted. That’s why it is important to follow the procedure described before, as it makes sure the USB stick is idle before removing.