USB sticks are boring, right? Useful, but boring. It’s safe to say that this new creation does a decent job of breaking the mould. And your laptop.
A Russian security researcher known as Dark Purple has built a USB stick capable of knocking out your laptop, desktop and pretty much anything else that features a USB port. However, it doesn’t rely on the power of malware. Oh no, that's far too mainstream. It goes about its business in a far more unusual, and less torturous, manner.
The spiteful little thing, which you're unlikely to find in a goodie bag at a careers fair anytime soon, is said to pump 220 volts into your machine, which is enough to mess up the internal hardware. This renders your computer unusable, though Purple says it’s “extremely unlikely” that the hard disk suffers any damage, so it should still be possible to access the data stored on the drive.
So it kills off your machine, but doesn't steal your information. It's the tech equivalent of assaulting someone for no reason. Thug life. [Graham Cluley]