USB stick destroys devices with high voltage!

M.Sc. Chris Wojzechowski

USB stick destroys devices with high voltage!

A USB stick destroys devices with high voltage? What reads like a bad weapon from a 90s movie is bitter reality. The stick can be ordered from Hong Kong for almost 50 EUR. The retailer dedicates the accessories to hardware manufacturers to test the devices. The dealer also offers a test shield for 14 EUR – to test his devices but not to sacrifice them! This stick has already been used in schools to destroy several dozen computers. A horrendous punishment awaits the offender.

Who manufactures the destructive USB sticks?

The company usbkill does the production. The appropriate website, usbkill.com2, presents the USB sticks and is also the website for ordering this USB stick. The stick is now available in version 2.03 and is currently not available. The device will probably not be available again until 14.09.16. Version 3 is meanwhile available. With a “more brutal efficiency” is advertised. In order to use the device for test scenarios, you need the high voltage protection between USB port and USB stick, the so-called Test Shield4. This is currently available and costs 13.95 €.

USB-Stick destroys devices with high voltage – how can that be?

The convenient thing about using the USB stick in live operation is the fact that the stick does not even have to bring its own energy. The device charges integrated capacitors via the USB port and then releases the energy again via a high-voltage pulse to the USB port. The whole thing happens in a split second5. The fatal hack only works because the devices on the USB ports are not sufficiently protected against high voltage. When the stick is inserted, large parts of the hardware are therefore destroyed.

You can attack everything that has a USB port!

With the treacherous CE & FCC certified USB stick not only laptops can be put into eternal retirement, as shown in the video. TVs, desktop PCs and other devices with USB ports can also be silenced forever. The stick can be used several times. An MBA graduate did not let this chance go and destroyed 59 Windows PCs and seven Apple computers. But he did not remain undiscovered. According to indictment, the young man is now facing 10 years in prison and a fine of 250,000 USD. The repertoire of the dealer has now been extended by a NFCKiller. Apparently the demand for a set is accordingly high. In the set with the USB killer almost 175 EUR have to be put on the table. The NFC Killer is a “Secure Tag Destruction”.

USB stick with high voltage and NFCKill
NFC and USB Kill in a set (source:


A USB stick destroys devices with high voltage – my opinion!

A stick with which you can turn devices into digital scrap in a split second should not be too easily available. It’s obvious that the hardware manufacturers have been a bit sloppy at this point. The company that distributes the destructive USB sticks should pay attention to their buyers. A purpose, place of work or some kind of proof should already be given by the buyers. A simple “I would like to test if I am affected.” would not suffice at this point.

Basically, however, not everyone needs to be afraid of buying such a stick “by mistake” in a large electronics store. USB sticks are basically a good thing. After all, operating systems can also be operated on them, for the safe use of foreign computers. Although WLAN access points do not destroy the computer, at least not as long as there is no malware spread over them, a good portion of attention is also part of the wireless interfaces! Especially those who travel a lot should take a look at our Tips for safe working on the go.

That’s how fast it goes when a USB stick destroys the laptop!


The original entry is dated 9/12/2016.
Edit: This article was updated on 18.02.2020 and valuable links and events were added.

Further information and sources

[2] USB Killer
[3] USB Killer Tester
[4] USB stick destroys computer (Heise)

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M.Sc. Chris Wojzechowski

My name is Chris Wojzechowski and I studied my Master in Internet Security in Gelsenkirchen a few years ago. I am one of two managing directors of AWARE7 GmbH and a trained IT Risk Manager, IT-Grundschutz practitioner (TÜV) and possess the test procedure competence for § 8a BSIG. Our bread and butter business is performing penetration testing. We are also committed to promoting a broad understanding of IT security in Europe, which is why we offer the majority of our products free of charge.