In response to our article about USB killers, a reader asks:
Would it be safer to attach unknown jump drives to a USB hub, which would then be connected to the PC? Or can this kill charge go through the hub and into the PC anyway?
A USB killer is a device that looks exactly like a normal thumb drive. It delivers an electrical charge to fry any device it is plugged into. It uses the USB charging function of the port to charge capacitors in the USB killer and then deliver an electrical death blow to your device. This doesn’t just affect computers, any device with a USB port is vulnerable.
It wouldn’t make any real difference as the hub is connected directly to your PC. Though I would never suggest putting a strange USB drive into your PC. Even if it’s not a USB killer, it could contain dangerous malware.
The greatest danger from these devices is not you putting a USB stick into your PC but someone else sticking one into an unattended device. Whether that be a disgruntled co-worker, testy roommate, or malicious stranger.