This week, a project called BusKill launched a custom USB magnetic breakaway cable that acts as a “dead man’s switch,” locking a computer if someone physically snatches it and severs the magnetic connectors.
Many of you may know that BusKill works for about two years as a “DIY” project. Anyone who has the software at his disposal, could compile the source code. However, this worked only on Linux and the components sold out really fast.
Now, the cable is available to be bought starting at $59. It comes with an accompanying application that works on macOS, Windows and Linux. Not only that but it allows users to easily activate and deactivate the cable with only one touch of a button. Michael Altfield, who is the project’s creator commented in an interview:
“Most people aren’t handling top-secret documents from whistleblowers and are 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)”
BusKill is designed to lock the computer when it is physically separated from you. However, Linux users can configure the application to trigger a self-destruct command and as a result the device’s cryptographic keys which are rendering the computer’s data will be inaccessible for a few seconds.
Also, the project has a plan to launch triggers which will shut down the computer when the magnetic cable is severed.