USB Killer

One new form of “hacking” is the USB Killer. This is a tiny device that is capable of frying almost anything with a USB port. It uses several capacitors to negatively charge from the device it is plugged into and then discharges all the power from a transistor at once. This entire process is looped until the device does not respond or give out power, which often takes less that 3 seconds.

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The various capacitors can charge and deliver up to 200 Volts of negative power. They mainly target the data lines, which can often kill the power lines as well.

This attack has been proven to work on TVs, desktop computers, laptops, phones, and even on cars. The surge can often be enough to fry the logic board or motherboard, which can render the device inoperable.

Some manufacturers such as Apple are beginning to add hardware such as opto-isolaters to their ports. This is a chip that uses light to physically to separate two electrical circuits from each other. USB Type C also aims to solve this problem of electronic surges by requiring cryptographic authentication between the device and the host it’s being plugged into.

As of now, if you want to protect yourself, be aware of what you plug into your computer. If you find a USB stick laying around, don’t plug it in unless you are sure it’s safe. There is a new stealth USB Killer that looks like a regular USB drive, which can be very dangerous. In the end, USB Killers can be very useful for security experts to test networks, but they can cause serious harm if used improperly.

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