This USB Drive Can Nuke A Computer

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YC-Backed Lully Built A Device To Prevent Night Terrors

Do not ever use a random USB flash drive. There are plenty of software exploits that can ruin your computer or life. And with this flash drive, it can physically destroy your computer by blasting a load of voltage to the USB controller with negative voltage. Think Wile E. Coyote and an ACME Human Cannon. BOOM!

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The basic idea of the USB drive is quite simple. When we connect it up to the USB port, an inverting DC/DC converter runs and charges capacitors to -110V. When the voltage is reached, the DC/DC is switched off. At the same time, the filed transistor opens. It is used to apply the -110V to signal lines of the USB interface. When the voltage on capacitors increases to -7V, the transistor closes and the DC/DC starts. The loop runs till everything possible is broken down. Those familiar with the electronics have already guessed why we use negative voltage here. I‘ll explain to others that negative voltage is easier to commutate, as we need the N-channel field resistor, which, unlike the P-channel one, can have larger current for the same dimensions.

Put simply, the bits inside the USB drive draws and stores a ton of power. When a certain level is hit, it returns the power to the source, which is either a dedicated USB controller or the CPU itself. This is bad news bears. The amount of power returned overloads the circuits, rendering it useless. Since a lot of USB controllers are built directly into the main processor… bye bye computer.

Scary. Thankfully the creator hasn’t released the schematic for the drive.

There are enough USB exploits floating around to warrant caution. Some will unknowingly install malware or backdoor software, and now, there is at least one, that will actually destroy your computer. It’s straight out of Colin Farrell spy movie and a fantastic argument for Apple’s vision of the future.