Tuesday04 October 2022

Reall Killer USB Built to provide -110 volts of fun to your PC or Mac

Reading time is around minutes.

As if lose USB drives with the potential for spyware and malware are not bad enough, some mad genius decided to build a USB device that is technically capable of doing damage to the hardware components of most modern computers. The device was custom built by a guy named Dark Purple and consists of a DC to DC converter and a capacitor bank. There is some control logic to this so that the capacitor bank know when to send the death note to the system it is plugged in to.

So how does the killer USB work? Well USB ports are capable of providing power to connected devices, when you plug in the killer USB it will pull that power and start charging the capacitor bank. When it reaches negative 110 volts it will send that back to the system. This is more than enough of a jolt to blow right through the components designed to stop surges and get to some more important parts… like the CPU.

Yes the CPU in your nice system is very vulnerable to this as both Intel and AMD have moved USB controllers to the CPU die. When that -110 volt jolt passes through you can bet there will be some permanent damage to your laptop or desktop. You will be left with an expensive door stop in the case of most laptops and a nice key chain for a desktop.

Nothing like a geek with a soldering iron, an idea, money and time on his hands. What makes this story more interesting is that there have been rumors of system killing devices used by the government and other sensitive “businesses” for years. In a former life I saw some very interesting gadgets that people had in place to prevent access to their data. Everything from magnetic coils around HDDs to actual explosives inside cases. The most fun one was a USB plug on the end of an extension cord… If someone came knocking they would plug in and watch the sparks…
As always be careful out there…

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