Why it matters to you
USB Killer is back with an even more dangerous version. All the more reason to be skeptical of mysterious USBs.
USB Killer, the USB stick that scorches your device with a lethal dose of voltage that renders it useless, has just become even more treacherous.
The new third iteration of the dastardly hardware, USB Killer V3, claims to be 1.5 times more powerful with twice as much surge power as its predecessor, sending 8 to 12 surges into a device once it is plugged in. The USB Killer charges its capacitors from the USB power lines at a super-fast pace sending 200-plus volts through a computer or phone.
More: Watch what you connect! ‘USB Killer’ fries almost anything it’s plugged into
And it gets better or worse, depending on your perspective, as the maker is also selling adaptors for connecting to USB-C, Lightning, and MicroUSB ports. To make it even sneakier, the Hong Kong company behind the device is selling an “anonymous edition” that comes without the logo or any branding so it just looks like any old USB.
USB Killer, which has FFC and European approvals for retailing, is advertised as a testing device and costs about $50. The approvals essentially mean that the device is safe for human handling and won’t electrocute anyone. In other words, the actual use cases of the USB Killer haven’t been approved or endorsed by any authority.
The makers added that they have come across copy devices being sold by other vendors that “should be considered as dangerous to the user.”
The company goes on to warn users against anyone tinkering with the device and trying to take it apart.
Things can get a little shady with USB Killer. The company is marketing it as a testing device and there are legitimate use cases for that. However if anyone can buy the USB, then anyone can put it to any use. The availability of an “anonymous edition” makes things look even more suspicious; why would a testing device need to be disguised?
Either way the company is avoiding any responsibility. “Willful destruction of third-party material with this device is illegal and not condoned by USBKill.com,” it says on its website.