Categories: News

Journalist Plugs in Unknown USB Drive Which Explodes in His Face

We are all familiar with the rule of not plugging in an unknown USB drive, well at least I hope we are though unfortunately, a journalist in Ecuador forgot this bit of advice and it had an extremely dangerous outcome.

USB Drive Explosives

USB drives can be used to store your family photos or a windows installation but they also have several malicious uses such as being able to be utilised to fry entire computers or kill specific USB slots using electrical surge’s and because of those possible risks it is always advised to not plug in any USB that you find on a park bench or in this Ecuadorian journalists case, a USB drive in the mail.

Following a report via CBS five Ecuadorian journalists received USB drives in the mail which were designed to explode when activated and of the five, Lenin Artieda of the Ecuavisa TV station inserted the drive. When the drive was plugged into the computer it exploded and Artieda suffered mild hand and face injuries.

How Did the Drive Work?

The drive was found to contain a 5-volt explosive charge using RDX which can be used as a base charge for explosives or mixed with other explosives. Police official Xavier Change said that the drive Artieda plugged in was only half activated and likely saved him some harm.

Targetted Attacks on Journalists

The motivation behind this attack is pretty clear cut, somebody wants to silence or intimidate journalists. The actual reason as to why someone wants to intimidate the journalists isn’t clear but it is believed to be likely linked to the drug cartels in the region.

The lesson to be learned here is don’t plug in a USB you receive in the mail, this is an extreme case but USB drives are capable of all sorts of damage.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Jakob Aylesbury

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