USB Killer proof?


#1

Is the phone going to be USB Killer proofed?


#2

What exactly is an USB killer?


#3

Google results are pretty accurate.
Duckduckgo also.


#4

From Reddit:

How is this any more dangerous than a hammer, a torch, or a dban boot disk?

I’m not saying Purism shouldn’t protect against it, but I found that post amusing. :wink:


#5

Maybe they also to ensure that it doesn’t bend under severe pressure using both hands :slight_smile:
And when you drop the device on it’s screen from 10 ft a Gorilla Glass 8 should prevent any damage.

I have a prototype of USB killer 2.0:

Twist it inside the USB port and the device won’t charge again as well. I don’t know why no vendor wants
to fix it, looks a serious design flaw to me…


#6

I guess unless you have friends who think it’s a cool prank to brick your device, the main reason for it would be against malfunctioning chargers.


#7

Ah, that’s a good point.


#8

A malfunctioning charger won’t discharge back 240V to your USB port.
You need capacitors to accumulate it first and then reverse it back to the port.

No sane charger or other device has capacitors with such “functionality”.


#9

Could grab your phone and smash it (not that I would)

A legitimate reason for this is to defend against malfunctioning chargers and other USB devices.

Maybe one of those dodgy Chinese counterfeit fire-hazard chargers might.


#10

You realize that you need a small “power bank” for it to work, right?
Those cheap counterfeit chargers try to save every penny on cheap components, not to
add batteries (capacitors) to it.
I don’t say it’s impossible to mitigate it with hardware, but it will require a surge protector just like
in a regular socket, and will drive up the cost and thickness of the device.


#11

True. But one would hope that a hardened port wouldn’t be too specific about what it protects you from.


#12

I was thinking that too…

I agree, but some protection for a malfunctioning charger might be worth looking into. (If they haven’t already)


#13

This already exists, and should be a much bigger priority that USB killer:


https://thenextweb.com/plugged/2019/01/03/new-usb-c-protocol-could-save-your-devices-from-faulty-chargers/

However it has negative usability cons as well, such as whitelisting only specific chargers etc.
Similar to Apple’s MFI certification.


#14

The best USB killer defence (and I’m referring to the “traditional” USB killer - something that looks like a flash stick with a voltage booster wired to the data pins) is a cheap USB hub to act as ablative armour. Sure, it’ll still get fried, but your loss here is a £5 hub as opposed to a £500 phone.


#15

LOL that was a good one! But I must say, a USB killer, silently killing it’s pray is better than a big loud hammer destroying it without any mercy.


#16

With USB one could do damage to the device with a lot of ways, i.e. malware simulating a keyboard and sending commands. Like with a hammer. The only way is: do not trust ANY foreign USB or charger, and do not trust people with a hammer on your device.