Plug it in, and it'll instantly destroy computers, TVs or any other device with a USB port. That's what the USB Killer is, a drive that can annihilate practically any modern machine.

Put simply, it does its magic by drawing power from a device and unloading it right back in a surge to fry the hardware.

At first glance, that looks like one of the tools that a movie villain would use, but according to the makers, it's not designed for evil purposes. In fact, it's a gadget that's meant to test whether or not a machine is vulnerable to surge attacks or not.

A Hong Kong-based hardware security team is behind the USB Killer, and it first exposed this particular risk in devices last year, developing a prototype at the time.

However, despite the group's efforts to publicize and make the problem aware since then, manufacturers have taken little or no measures to keep it at bay. So far, only Apple has implemented protective methods on its products against it.

"To this day, according to our testing, the only company that releases hardware protected against a USB power-surge attack is Apple, on their laptop and desktop ranges. This means — despite adequate warning and time to respond — the majority of consumer-level hardware manufacturers choose not to protect their customer's devices. We are [disheartened] by this lack of respect for customers," the organization says.

Perhaps this renewed attempt to make the vulnerability widely known will soon turn the tide in its favor. With that said, the demand for the USB Killer is reportedly so high that there have been backorders.

For anyone who wants to get ahold of it for whatever purpose, it's available via the group's official website, and it'll hold customers back by 49.95 euro (about $56), but as implied earlier, it's currently out of stock at the time of this writing.

What's more, there's also the USB Killer Tester or USB Protection Shield that allows users to test the output functionality of the USB Killer without destroying the device they're plugged into. It's up for grabs with a price tag of 13.95 euro (about $15).

It's also worth mentioning that this is reminiscent of the USB-C cable that fried a Chromebook Pixel 2, but needless to say, that wire wasn't meant to do that.

Now that everything's cleared up, what do you think of the USB Killer? Feel free to hit us up in the comments section below and let us know whether or not you're planning on getting one yourself.

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Tags: USB Killer USB