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This USB stick could destroy your PC

This USB stick could destroy your PC
photo courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK

The threat of cyberattacks should have everyone worried these days. Cybercriminals are constantly developing new ways to steal your money, personal information and even render your gadget useless.

Ransomware attacks are designed to encrypt files and keep victims from accessing them until they pay a fee.  Now, there is a new type of attack that is potentially worse than ransomware.

A company based in China is selling an item called USB Killer. It's a USB stick that will destroy any gadget that it is plugged into. All electronics with a USB port, including computers, televisions and printers are susceptible to the attack.

When the USB Killer is inserted into a USB port, it quickly charges its capacitors from the USB power lines. Once it is charged, it sends a power surge over the data lines of the host gadget. The charge-discharge process repeats several times per second until the USB Killer is removed and the host gadget is destroyed.

The company that makes the USB Killer says it can destroy 95 percent of gadgets that have USB ports.

One possible protection against this attack could come in future USB connectors. Gadgets that come with a USB-C port, instead of the standard USB 2 or 3, might help defend against USB Killer attacks. Some Apple laptops already have the USB-C. Click here to read how the newest USB port will change how you use computers.

In the meantime, it's good practice to never leave your gadget unattended in public. Leaving your laptop on the table while you go to the counter to pick up a coffee is just too trusting. Also, never use a USB stick that you find lying in the parking lot! You never know, it might just be the USB Killer.

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Source: INC
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