Do not try this at home!

The USB Killer exploits a vulnerability manufacturers haven’t bothered fixing.

If you ever buy one of these just remember to not get it mixed up for your usual USB.

When plugged into any device the USB Killer, released earlier last summer, rapidly draws power from the hardware, then returns that power in an overloading burst. According to the makers, this “instantly and permanently disables unprotected hardware.” Potential targets include not just PCs, but TVs, copy machines—anything with a USB port (even phones!)

Its public release at least appears well-intentioned. The USB Killer was developed by a security hardware team based in Hong Kong, who first publicised the vulnerability it targets over a year ago, and developed an early prototype.

Raising awareness of the hardware vulnerability, they say, will motivate manufacturers to act—just as is the case with software vulnerabilities. Do you think it’s a good idea? Tweet us your thoughts!


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