The USB Killer is a commercially available USB stick that can fry almost any computer in seconds by rapidly collecting power from the USB power lines and then repeatedly discharging 240V into the host device until it dies. The whole process only takes a few seconds.
USB sticks have long been used infect unsuspecting users’ computers with all kinds of malware and spyware, but last year, a Russian hacker by the name of Dark Purple showed the entire world a new way USB drives can be used to effectively destroy virtually any PC or laptop equipped with a USB port. When it was first revealed, last year, the “USB Killer” was described as a proof of concept aimed at security researchers and folks who work on USB standards, to help them make devices immune to high voltage attacks. A few days ago, however, the USB Killer became a commercially available product that anyone can order online for just $56.
The USB Killer looks as harmless as any other pen drive, but it’s actually lethal for around 95% of consumer laptops and PCs. It is equipped with small capacitors that draw power from the USB power source to which it is connected, and when they are completely charged – it can take less than a second – the stick discharges over 200 volts of DC power to the host device multiple times per seconds until the machine is fried or the USB Killer is unplugged.