Friday, 29 May 2009

USB Prober

From time to time the subject of linking USB flash drives to a particular PC crops up. A week or so ago I saw a post on the Guidance boards touching on this subject and chipped in with a link to a paper referencing Harlan Carvey's original research in this area. The nub of this issue is that many USB flash drives have a unique device serial number which is recorded into the registry of Windows boxes that have hosted said flash drive.

When investigating this issue establishing a USB flash drives device serial number may be achieved by utilising a utility such as UVCView. In our lab we use the Tableau T8 USB write blocker to do this. When checking out the subject again prior to posting to the thread on the Guidance boards referred to above I discovered that my Mac Book Pro also has a utility that can establish a USB flash drives device serial number. The utility is an application called USB Prober which is installed as part of the XCode developer tools (which can be found on the separate DVD along with the Mac OS disc for those that have a Mac).

To use USB Prober for this purpose the Mac needs to configured so that it does not mount the USB flash drive. To do this disk arbitration needs to be turned off. In Leopard in terminal the command is:

sudo launchctl unload /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/

Once disk arbitration simply launch USB Prober (via spotlight is the quickest way) and drill down to the device serial number.


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