Hey, remember the USB Killer, a device that looks like a thumb drive and lets you destroy 95% of computers by frying them with a quick jolt of electricity? There’s now an improved version on the market, which is more powerful, looks more like any generic thumb drive, and comes with micro USB, USB-C, and Apple Lightning adapters, allowing you to fry a wider variety of electronics.
How do you know whether your device is vulnerable to attacks with a similar computer-frying stick? You don’t. A video compilation shows the new version’s Lightning port destroying an iPhone 7 and at least briefly confusing an iPad Pro. The only way to stop an attack on a vulnerable system is to physically keep anyone from accessing the USB ports, so good luck with that. Hope you don’t know anyone vindictive enough to try this.
Ars Technica explains that the USB Killer works by drawing power from the computer or phone like any USB accessory would, storing it in its capacitors until it reaches -220V, then blasting all of that power back into the computer, smartphone, tablet, car entertainment system, or anything else with a compatible port. The USB Killer then repeats the process as many times as it needs to until the device dies.
Want to see it in action? Here’s a video compilation of gadget snuff porn, as people try the product in a wide variety of devices.
Like its predecessor, the USB Killer costs around $50 and anyone can buy it.
You really can’t be reminded too often to back up your devices. Go do that, people.