This "killer" USB flash drive zaps your hardware into submission

By Shawn Knight
Oct 14, 2015
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  1. USB flash drives have a notoriously bad reputation for causing all sorts of harm to computers. While malware is the typical payload, a new device from a Russian researcher known as Dark Purple aims to physically destroy a system’s hardware.

    On the outside, USB Killer 2.0 resembles your run-of-the-mill flash drive. Inside, however, it’s a different story. When connected to a computer, the stick delivers a negative 220-volt electric charge to the USB port. As seen in the video above, this is more than enough to disable a target computer within seconds.

    An earlier version of the device used a negative 110-volt charge to do its dirty work. That device used a DC/DC converter to charge the capacitors to negative 110V and once the target was reached, the DC/DC switches off. The loop continues until the hardware is toast.

    Just how much damage the drive affords isn’t yet known. As Ars Technica points out, the USB port is almost certainly fried and it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that the motherboard also gets damaged in the act. It may be possible for the processor and hard drive to survive but that’s pure speculation at this point.

    Either way, this should serve as yet another reminder to steer clear of flash drives from unknown sources.

    Permalink to story.

  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,114   +1,379

    Those sneaky f. Russians...

  3. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,258

    Bestec's PSUs now have competition!
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2015
  4. sac39507

    sac39507 TS Enthusiast Posts: 32   +6

    Why not create something useful. I was hoping this would kill a hard drive and nothing else. It would be a great drive wiping tool.
  5. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,349   +1,945

    Why go through the expense and trouble of purchasing one? You'll find a hammer virtually anywhere.
    Capaill likes this.
  6. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,432   +473

    Why go through the trouble of only making snotty comments that in the end are nothing but rubbish?

    Go give people hammers to smash their computers, if you don't find any voluntier grab one and hit yourself in the head repeatedly :)

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 908   +245

    Sure a hammer would work. So would a 7.62mm bullet traveling at 700+ m/s. But this is a little more discrete than a hammer... and the saboteur might get away without being caught.
  8. OortCloud

    OortCloud TS Booster Posts: 114   +27

    This articles title suggested to me that somebody was going to be able to make a normal USB drive fry your PC via some virus doing clever IO requests or something. This is just a bit of hardware designed to fry your PC when its physically plugged into it.

    Equally pointless articles could talk about 'sandpaper covered DVD trashes DVD drive!' or 'killer power supply that delivers twice the voltage!' or go the whole hog with a 'killer mouse with an embedded C4 charge blows up entire rig and removes owners arm!'
  9. Primey

    Primey TS Rookie

    I wonder how many laptops he went through testing it :p

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