Do you know the USB devices we carry each day can be converted into a bomb? You must be thinking like “yeah whatever.”
No, it’s true, a researcher just showed how a USB can be converted into a killer USB that can kill your whole PC within seconds.
Though, this is not the first time such a USB has been demonstrated. In March, the same researcher showed that a USB can cause harm to vital components of a system if plugged in. But, this time around the USB he demonstrated was significantly more powerful and was named as “Dark Purple”
The USB has been developed with a DC/DC converter, caps and FET. On plugging, the DC/DC converter charges the USB to -220V in the new version (in the old version it was -110V). This voltage is applied to the signal lines of the USB interface.
The process repeats itself until all the components of the PC are destroyed.
What’s more troubling about the version2.0 is that the reaction rate is much more than the earlier version, which allows it to destroy the whole system within few seconds.
During the demonstration, the researcher lost his new laptop which can be seen in the video above. This is what he said after the demonstration:
“Do not worry about the laptop, the new motherboard is on the way – and the laptop will live again,” He specifically bought new laptop (Lenovo Thinkpad X60) just for this experiment, according to the researcher’s blog post.
This is not the first time a USB has been used as a weapon. USB drives have been used many times for compromising systems in air-gapped networks.
Stuxnet worm is the best example in the recent past when a USB drive was used as a weapon. Stuxnet worm was designed to destroy centrifuges at a nuclear facility.
So, our advice for you would be to be very careful while using anyone’s USB (better still, do not use anyone’s USB in your system), as one wrong step on your side can put all your data on risk.