As I’d mentioned in the detail section of a previous blog post there was a prototype USB memory stick that is designed to fry the electronics on a laptop or desktop, the instant it gets plugged into it.
Well it’s now something you can buy for as little as €50. The worrying thing is, as of today (16th September 2016) they are out of stock!
What purpose does this device serve?
According to their website “The USB Kill 2.0 is a testing device created to test USB ports against power surge attacks. The USB Kill 2.0 tests your device’s resistance against this attack.” Unfortunately in testing your device, this stick literally kills it!
They separately sell a “Tester Shield”, which you plug into your PC’s USB port, before inserting the killer device. This stops your machine from being fried. If, as they claim their reason behind releasing this device is to test your PC’s resistance to a surge attack, then why don’t they have a single combined shield/killer stick that does the test, but without killing the victim machine?
It’s simple – they know that nobody would buy such a combined unit, because I don’t expect many people would actually carry out such a test. However they may be very interested in being a malicious thug and go about killing people’s machines.
Interestingly Apple devices appear to be immune to this, as they have their USB ports wired differently to the way the rest of the world seems to have them wired. So if other manufacturers make the change to prevent such a device being effective, this will take several years to wash through, such that you end up with a desktop or laptop that is not vulnerable to this type of attack.
So as I mentioned in my original blog post, never insert a USB stick into your machine, unless you have had it in your control since the day you removed it from it’s packaging. Don’t let anybody else insert a USB stick into your machine – even your IT folk – especially your IT folk. You just never know where it’s been.
But keep a special lookout for this little beauty!