Remember Killer USB stick?
A proof-of-concept USB prototype that was designed by a Russian researcher, Dark Purple, last year, to effectively destroy sensitive components of a computer when plugged in.
Now, someone has actually created the Killer USB stick that destroys almost anything – such as Laptops, PCs, or televisions – it is plugged into.
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A Hong Kong-based technology
If this “USB Killer” invention is real, then plugging in one of these unknown devices could electrocute your defenseless PC or Mac, and damage it beyond repair.
It’s a far cry from today’s worst-case-scenario of getting infected by malware and it’s a timely reminder to anybody who stumbles across a USB device by chance – you’ll want to think twice before plugging it in.
Indeed the natural curiosity of what happens when someone finds a USB stick in a public place is well documented, and as far back as 2010 it even spawned the concept of the USB dead drop.
This latest news adds to a growing concern around the security of all USB devices. Last year researchers Karsten Nohl and Jacob Lell revealed a number of attacks known as BadUSB that has since uncovered a swathe of problems where malware could be transferred at a hardware layer with very little ability to protect against this type of threat.
But we have previously warned about the dangers of anything ‘untrusted’ – be it software, apps and hardware devices. Your security these days relies more on trust than ever before, as outlined recently by our CEO Gary Kovacs in his keynote speech at Mobile World Congress.
What to do if you find an unknown USB device?
NEVER connect it to your PC or Mac. At best it will contain Malware, or at worst it may be a USB Killer (although unlikely).
Try to return it to its owner. Ask around or check if it has a label on it; or leave it where you found it, in case the owner returns to find it.
Consider destroying the USB device. Remember, if the device isn’t yours – neither is the data that it might contain.
Until next time, stay safe out there.