Student faces 10 Years in jail for ‘ USB Kill ‘USB sticks can infect a system on their connection with malware or exfiltrate data, but electrical attacks are a serious possibility that most computer and laptop manufacturers simply do not consider. Since protecting the USB input from electrical overloading has an additional cost about 95 percent of the out there systems are vulnerable to such cheap “USB Kill” sticks. Apple is one of the few that shields its products so it’s invulnerable to those sticks of destruction. Akuthota has victimized 59 computers and seven other computer monitors which included USB ports. Probably, the man did it for fun or perhaps to raise awareness about the importance of shielding. The fact that he took a video of his “killing spree” has to do with both possible justifications behind his actions but it is precisely this move that has uncovered him. By accounting for another $7k that is the cost of the investigations, Akuthota’s total damage is around $58.5k. Since those nasty little sticks need only a few seconds to charge their capacitors and direct the energy back into the circuitry of the system getting to the bottom of it, it was difficult for the investigators who worked with the college to figure out what was happening. This case is a good reminder of the dangers lurking in our USB ports when plugging anything in. Moreover, the amount of financial damage caused by “just for the fun of it” by a single unmotivated educated person is an excellent opportunity for hardware manufacturers to rethink their approach in “USB shielding” and maybe take that extra protective step and market it accordingly. It’s about time that we render obsolete those usb kill sticks.
Author Jeanne Higgins