Russian security researchers have developed a USB stick that can destroy any living gadget. The USB is capable of destroying sensitive components of computers (and similar devices), frying them for good.
The first version of this USB Killer was developed back in March. The same researcher, known as Dark Purple, has now revealed a newer more improved version of this killer USB Pendrive, this time naming it USB Killer version 2.0.
Compared to the original, the USB Killer 2.0 had more power making it more capable to destroy more than just a PC it is plugged in.
The original version of the USB Killer consisted of a DC to DC converter, a few caps and a FET. When plugged inside a system, the converter charged the USB to up to negative 110 volts and released the charged up voltage through the USB interface. USB ports are only capable of 5.2 volts DC so can’t possible manage such high voltages. The USB drive then repeated the process until the device using it was dead.
The newer iteration comes with improved internals that can charge a voltage up to -220 volts and dump the voltage though its USB interface. The voltage is so powerful that it can fry any computer and does not require repeated attempts for the murderous purpose. Another improvement comes in the form of reduced reaction rate. In other words, it can kill a computer (or any other device with a USB port) in a matter of seconds.
To test off the USB Killer 2.0, Dark Purple researcher killed his brand new Lenovo Thinkpad X60 laptop. Dark Purple proved the concept with a video demonstration of the USB that can be viewed below.
“Do not worry about the laptop, the new motherboard is on the way – and the laptop will live again,” said Dark Purple in a blog post. “Originally (I) did not plan to restore it, the laptop was purchased specifically for the test.”
USB Killer is not a new concept and have been used as weapon against digital devices using air-gapped networks for quite some time now. Stuxnet worm is one such example, which was designed to destroy centrifuges at nuclear facilities with a USB drive.
All in all, there is one more reason not to plug in unknown USBs into your system.