The following USB flash drive isn’t just an extremely imaginative tech weapon worthy of James Bond. We’re looking at an actual killer USB stick that will forcefully turn off the PC the moment it’s inserted into a USB port – and yes, it does look just like your average memory stick you’d pass around the office.
Developed by a researcher called Dark Purple, the killer USB stick doesn’t pack powerful malware capable of destroying the operating system of a computer. Instead, the USB stick delivers a negative 220-volt electric surge into the USB port, Ars Technica explains, which is enough to fry the internal components.
The video below shows the killer USB in action. Everything happens rather quickly and an affected user might not even realize what’s going on, at least at first.
This is apparently the second version of the stick, or USB Killer 2.0. The first one was a less powerful device that drew power from USB ports using a DC-to-DC converter until it reached a negative 100 volts. At that point, the power was fed into the computer, and the entire process ran on a loop until the internal circuitry failed.
While the USB Killer would deliver permanent damage to a computer, regardless of operating system or protection, it’s not clear what kind of damage it’ll do to the data-storing hard drives.
The scary video showing USB Killer 2.0 in action follows below.