Despite the increase in the storage of files and documents on cloud-based systems, the humble USB is still playing an integral part in our lives. From offices to homes, this convenient tool is used for quickly and easily transferring files from one device to another.
However, just because they may seem harmless doesn’t mean they can’t give your cause for concern. If you have ever connected your USB to an infected computer it is likely that it has become infected with malware. What’s more, if you thought that a virus was the worst thing that could happen to your USB then you’re mistaken – a USB could, literally, fry your computer.
Russian security expert Dark Purple has recently proven this and has developed an updated version of his so-called USB Killer; a USB capable of destroying a laptop but by connecting the two devices.
His first device managed to discharge 110 volts of electricity on the USB port when it was connected, but the new USB Killer 2.0 has managed to increase further the voltage that it can transmit, making it capable of relative destruction. If we consider that a USB port can handle around 5 volts, his invention goes far beyond what it is capable of tolerating, and in just a few seconds the USB Killer can destroy the motherboard.
In order to achieve this, the USB that he uses has been modified to use a DC-to-DC converter and various condensers. When it is connected, it begin to transmit an electrical current to the condensers, which turn into tension points as a consequence of this powerful charge.
The Dark Purple system not only manages to destroy computers with this method, but also any technological device that has a USB port. It doesn’t matter if it is a laptop, a desktop computer, or a tablet – this USB is designed to destroy the motherboard of any device, regardless of its size.
Although the investigator hasn’t carried out tests on all devices, his demonstration of the USBs power in destroying a Lenovo ThinkPad X60 leaves us with little doubt as to the potential of the USB Killer 2.0. The effects of his demonstration were immediate, with the computer automatically shutting down and it was impossible to restart it.
You never know what they may have stored in them and it’s best not to take the risk, as they could contain dire malware. If you want to protect your computer or tablet you need to look beyond the programs that you have installed; you also need to be aware of the dangers that come from external sources.
By simply opening it you can tell it’s a usb killer. In order to store enough energy, it needs a capacitor much larger (in capacitance) than the ones you’d normally find in a pen drive.
Regardless, it’s never recommended to use an unknown pen drive.