A software program engineer has designed a so-called USB “kill cable” that works as a useless man’s change to close down or wipe a Linux laptop computer when the system is stolen off your desk or out of your lap in public areas like parks, malls, and web cafes.
The cable, named BusKill, was designed by Michael Altfield, a software program engineer and Linux sysadmin from Orlando, Florida.
The thought is to attach the BusKill cable to your Linux laptop computer on one finish, and to your belt, on the opposite finish. When somebody yanks your laptop computer out of your lap or desk, the USB cable disconnects from the laptop computer and triggers a udev script [1, 2, 3] that executes a collection of preset operations.
These might be one thing so simple as activating your screensaver or shutting down your system (forcing the thief to bypass your laptop computer’s authentication mechanism earlier than accessing any information), however the script will also be configured to wipe the system or delete sure folders (to stop thieves from retrieving any delicate information or accessing safe enterprise backends).
“We do what we will to extend our OpSec when utilizing our laptop computer in public-such as utilizing a very good VPN supplier, 2FA, and password database auto-fill to stop community or shoulder-based eavesdropping,” says Altfield. “However even then, there’s all the time a danger that somebody may simply steal your laptop computer after you’ve got authenticated!”
Altfield is just not promoting ready-made BusKill cables, at the least, not for now. On his website, the Linux IT professional revealed directions on how everybody can construct their very own BusKill cables.
Fundamental parts included a USB flash drive (might be empty, no have to retailer any information on it), a carabiner keyring to connect the BusKill cable to your belt, a USB magnetic breakaway adapter, and the precise USB cable.
The worth for a cable can vary from $20 to $45, relying on the BusKill configuration wanted to your system and the durability of its parts.
Altfield additionally lists two pattern udev scripts. One locks your system by activating the screensaver whereas the second shuts down your laptop computer.
Customers might want to construct their very own scripts that wipe information or delete delicate folders, as these will rely upon the situation and sort of the info they wish to delete.