BusKill: a cable that initiates the self-destruction of your laptop if it is stolen


Without a doubt one of the biggest perceived problems in any country is crime and more so in Latin American countries in which great insecurity is experienced every day, although regardless of the place it is a topic that is discussed daily.

From the assaults on the means of transport, have the glass of your car broken to steal your belongings, they snatch your backpack, etc.. They are things that people are more cautious about.

And it is that even if all the pertinent measures are taken, this does not mean that you are completely sure. Since not even leaving your belongings in your home is completely safe.

The reason I bring up this topic is because surfing the net I came across a very interesting device which has as name BusKill.

About BusKill

East is a device that can be useful for all those who always carry their laptops since their daily tasks demand them.

BusKill It is characterized by being a USB cable that is responsible for sending some scripts that can be helpful in protecting confidential data on your laptop from theft when working in a public place.

And it is that a software engineer Michael Altfield, was the one who was in charge of carrying out the design of an interruption cable called BusKill that It can trigger a specific action when you disconnect from the laptop.

He came up with the idea after looking for a simple, low-tech solution to make the computer lock up, shut down, or self-destruct when physically separated from the owner.

Since as such there is no measure that guarantees 100% return or recovery of a laptop in case of theft. But what is certain is that you can apply a measure to protect all those confidential data that are on your laptop.

He describes the device hack on his website:

“Let's consider a scenario: you are in a public location (say a cafe) while necessarily authenticating to some super important service (say online banking). But what if, after carefully authenticating, someone steals your laptop? Atfield wrote.

“Maybe you can call your bank to freeze your accounts before they have caused significant financial damage. Maybe I can't.

The system works by looking at the USB ports for a certain brand of USB key. Atfield uses a magnetic breakout cable that would disconnect if someone took the laptop away from him and then wrote simple code that works on Linux or Mac OS to trigger an action when the USB key suddenly disappears.

In other words, when the cable is removed, the computer will crash.

These can be something as simple as activating your screen saver or turning off your device (forcing the thief to bypass your laptop's authentication mechanism before accessing any information), but the script can also be configured to wipe the device or delete certain folders (to prevent thieves from recovering confidential data or accessing secure business backends).

"We do everything we can to increase our OpSec when using our laptop in public, such as using a good VPN provider, 2FA, and password database auto-fill to prevent eavesdropping on the network or on the shoulder," says Altfield. "But even then, there is always the risk that someone might steal your laptop after it has been authenticated!"

On his website, the Linux IT expert posted instructions on how everyone can build their own BusKill cables.

The basic components include a USB flash drive (it can be empty, no data needs to be stored on it), a carabiner keychain to connect the BusKill cable to your belt, a magnetic break USB adapter, and the actual USB cable.

If you are interested in the subject, you can consult the publication. The link is this.

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