If you’re the kind of person that locks their laptop when you leave the desk, you might wanna just take it with you next time to be safe from a new threat. PoisonTap, a USB device that costs just $5, can bypass almost any password-locked machine and installs remote access without the user’s permission. This diabolical dongle is the work of Los Angeles-based computer engineer Samy Kamkar, who revealed his creation on Wednesday.
It’s the latest in a line of trinkets designed to terminate your PC’s protections. In September, the USBKill 2.0 hit the markets, promising to deliver a catastropic shock of electricity when plugged in for the low price of $56. Russian security researcher Dark Purple created a flash drive-like device that uses an inverting DC/DC converter to deliver a nasty shock to a computer’s data lines. One of the few machines immune from these attacks is the Apple MacBook, which isolates the data lines on its USB ports.
Of course, there’s a few easy ways to protect against Kamkar’s invention. You can take your laptop with you, close browser windows, or enable FireVault2 on the Mac. Alternatively, if your friends are the sort that would play a prank on you like that, perhaps move on.