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Table Of Contents  CertiGuide to Security+
 9  Chapter 3:  Infrastructure Security (Domain 3.0; 20%)
      9  3.2  Media
           9  3.2.4  Removable Media

Previous Topic/Section  Hard Drives
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Next Topic/Section  Diskettes

Diskettes are still sometimes used for small software/patch/configuration distribution, and emergency system boots, in some environments. Although not usually positioned as a backup solution in corporate environments, diskettes were at one time the personal backup solution of choice, since every computer was already equipped with a floppy drive and everything else was generally outside the price range of non-business users.

The primary type of diskette in use today is the 3.5” 1.44meg diskette. The disc is covered by a hard, square, plastic shell. To protect the data on the disc, you can adjust the “write tab” on the disc. When inserted in a drive, the drive will detect the position of the write tab, and not allow the disk to be written to (or reformatted) if the user has set the tab appropriately.

Older types of diskettes, such as 5.25” diskettes, were not covered with hard plastic. Instead, they were placed in a flexible plastic envelope. The flexible characteristic of these older diskettes explains why they were commonly called “floppy diskettes”.

Security Issues with Diskettes

Truly “floppy” diskettes (5.25” or 8”) are vulnerable to damage by well-meaning users who aren’t familiar with the technology. For example, users have been known to fold them in half like a piece of paper, or staple them to notebooks for safekeeping. The hard covering on newer 3.5” diskettes makes them much more resistant to damage.

Another issue is that since diskettes are magnetic media, devices and objects that disrupt the magnetic properties of the media can affect them.

Diskette Security

Like tape and hard drives, diskettes are also magnetic media, and thus can be affected by EMF, so they should be stored appropriately.

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CertiGuide for Security+ ( on
Version 1.0 - Version Date: November 15, 2004

Adapted with permission from a work created by Tcat Houser et al. Version Copyright 2004 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.
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