It was a hoax that proliferated in playgrounds, Caramail messaging, ICQ and other discussion forums: the idea that a simple USB key connected to a computer can destroy it at the component level.
An urban legend that inspired the Russian hacker Dark Purple who created the USB Killer, a USB key capable of taking almost any computer out of service.
The key would thus be capable of generating voltage overloads high enough to damage the PC at the hardware level. Dark Purple presented their work on the Internet and shared plans, component lists and photos.
Its principle is simple: several capacitors start to store electricity as soon as they are connected. When the capacitors reach saturation (some seconds are enough), everything is released very quickly, before a new cycle begins again … The cycles are linked until the key is removed, or the PC is damaged beyond repair.
The hacker said he wanted to draw attention to the need to always pay attention to what you plug into your PC. Now, since the plans are available online, it is a safe bet that this type of USB key will proliferate, and we imagine what type of disaster they could do in administrations, university computer rooms or other stations equipped with USB port.