While you can use antivirus software to protect against viruses and a VPN to protect your online privacy, it’s much more difficult to protect your device from physical attacks. That’s why a project called BusKill came up with a custom USB magnetically isolated cable that acts as a dead man’s switch for laptops. With BusKill’s custom USB cable attached, your computer will automatically lock if someone removes the magnetic connector in an attempt to take your device away.
Following a crowdsourcing effort on CrowdSupply, BusKill’s custom USB cable is now available to purchase for $59 and comes with an app that works on macOS, Windows and Linux that allows users to arm and disarm the cable with the touch of a button. Michael Altfield who created BusKill provided further insight on the project’s latest iteration and explained why he decided to expand its scope beyond Linux, saying:
This type of security might be overkill for the average user, but journalists, activists, politicians, and other vulnerable people use this product to keep their devices and data out of malicious hands. can prevent
The creator of BusKill has been working on this project for over two years. The initial version was developed as a do-it-yourself project that allowed anyone with the hardware to compile the source code though up until now, it only worked on Linux and the components needed to set it up quickly sold out.
“Most people aren`t handling top-secret documents from whistleblowers and worried about the secret police knocking down their doors, but that`s the level of risk that I designed BusKill for. And I wanted it to be accessible to journalists who don`t necessarily use Linux and don`t know how to use the CLI [command line interface].” For those users that are familiar with Linux, they can actually configure BusKill’s app to trigger a self-destruct command in addition to locking their devices.
This command scrambles a device’s cryptographic keys which makes the data on their devices completely inaccessible to prying eyes. In the future, Altfield plans to release a BusKill trigger that will shut down the computer when the magnetic cable is disconnected.