This USB Drive Will Self-Destruct After Ruining Your Computer

Who would have thought that you could light up pyrotechnics on USB power? This USB keystroke injector that blows up after it’s used proves the concept.

Fully aware that this is one of those “just because you can doesn’t mean you should” projects, [MG] takes pains to point out that his danger dongle is just for dramatic effect, like a prop for a movie or the stage. In fact, he purposely withholds details on the pyrotechnics and concentrates on the keystroke injection aspect, potentially nasty enough by itself, as well as the dongle’s universal payload launching features. We’re a little bummed, because the confetti explosion (spoiler!) was pretty neat.

The device is just an ATtiny85 and a few passives stuffed into an old USB drive shell, along with a MOSFET to trigger the payload. If you eschew the explosives, the payload could be anything that will fit in the case. [MG] suggests that if you want to prank someone, an obnoxious siren might be a better way to teach your mark a lesson about plugging in strange USB drives.

While this isn’t the most dangerous thing you can do with a USB port, it could be right up there with that rash of USB killer dongles from a year or so ago. All of these devices are fun “what ifs”, but using them on anything but your own computers is not cool and possibly dangerous. Watching the smoke pour out of a USB socket definitely drives home the point that you shouldn’t plug in that thumbdrive that you found in the bathroom at work, though.

[Yuu], thanks for the tip.

35 thoughts on “This USB Drive Will Self-Destruct After Ruining Your Computer

      1. How small are supercaps these days? If you remove the flash chip and just have a charge circuit and cap(s) in the shell you could probably collect enough juice to numb some fingers.
        Or put one of those postage stamp sized flash drives in a thumb drive shell along with the previously mentioned circuits.

        1. Why trigger a glue release with the micro? Have a physical superglue release IN the USB plug so that it bursts when the plug is inserted. That way, it immediately starts bonding to whatever plug it’s inserted into while the target is still waiting for it to “boot”.

        2. The volatile liquid could be the CA adhesive itself – it outgasses nicely under certain conditions. Also don’t forget that, for laptops, the USB ports aren’t physically isolated in a significant way from the rest of the computer so the port becomes a spray head.

          Just sayin’

  1. “Good Morning Mr. Phelps,
    The man you are viewing on the screen is…
    [bla, bla, blah…]
    Your mission, should you decide to accept, is to stop this man from carrying out his plans, and put an end to his organization.
    This laptop will self-destruct in 5 seconds…”

  2. Its a good thing most of use are good people.
    In my army days I was a bomb expert. Not a nice job.
    I am glad It was a long time ago. I really would hate to be one today.
    It would be so much more scarier today.
    I love the effects that you added with the smoke and the firecracker.
    Even with USB sticks with small firecrackers in them would send the world into a whirlwind of a storm.

    1. That might leave a nasty trail to your doorstep.
      You might be able to just take a vape thingy apart for an effective set of parts to blow up an USB stick
      Or a gas lighter actually, bit of propane in a small space should work right?
      Pity it’s too late for the coin-cell challenge I guess

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