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USB Killer: What it is and how to protect your devices

Introduction

What’s more ubiquitous in the PC world than USB sticks? They’re easy to use, affordable and are used by millions of people on a daily basis. Everyone knows that USB sticks can house nasties, including malware, but did you know that this same little drive can completely destroy a system by simply inserting it?

Welcome to the destructive world of USB Killer. This article will explore the USB Killer, how it works and how you can effectively protect yourself against it. We will also examine a case study where USB Killer was used to wreak havoc on an educational institution.

What is USB Killer?

USB Killer is a modified USB drive that destroys computers when you insert it into the machine’s USB drive. There are different versions of this device, and you can even create a DIY version yourself for $3 or less.

USB Killer is often used as an example of why you should refrain from plugging in unknown USB devices into your systems. USB Killer drives are often disguised as air ionizers and fans, which can fool those with lax information security training.

How does USB Killer inflict so much damage?

The power of USB Killer lies in its functional simplicity: the device is able to inflict so much damage on systems by taking advantage of the interplay between USB drives and power. USB Killer doesn’t use malware or special equipment. It just sends high-voltage power into the computer it is plugged into, effectively destroying the system. In fact, USB Killer has the potential to send up to 200 direct current volts into a USB port — a death blow for any machine.

But how does it work? USB Killer charges the capacitor bank by using an inverted DC-to-DC converter. This power is sent back into the (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Infosec Resources authored by Greg Belding. Read the original post at: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/infosecResources/~3/UMWPoZ55G0o/

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