BusKill a new laptop kill cord Dead Man Switch for Linux machine to lock, shutdown, or to wipe out the linux machine, in case of theft.

The cable dubbed “BusKill” was developed by Linux expert Michael Altfield. It is powered by USB & udev commands.


Let’s consider a scenario that you are in a public place and accessing some sensitive data, the thief may snatch and run away with your laptop.

The thief may access all the sensitive data and the data may be posted in the public, Financial loss or leads to other risks.

Michael Altfield’s cheapest $20 BusKill lets you lock, shutdown, or self-destruct when it’s physically separated from you.

BusKill makes use of udev (device manager that detects when external devices are plugged), $4 USB drive with durable keyring hole, small & strong carabiner keyring to attack with belt loop $6, $7 USB magnetic breakaway adapter and $3 1-meter USB extension cable.

The setup would look like below


If the laptop snatched the USB magnetic breakaway adapter gets detached from the Laptop and that would trigger a udev remove action.

You can set up a udev rule that to be triggered when the USB drive is removed, you can set rules to lock, shutdown, or self-destruct your Laptop.

Technical details and the rules can be found in Michael Altfield’s blog post, here is the video demonstration.

“it is simple. There is no need for anything to be stored on the USB drive. And if the USB drive suddenly failed, BusKill would still be triggered. If an attacker quickly inserted a clone of your USB drive before or after stealing your laptop, BusKill would still be triggered,” Michael Altfield added.

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Guru is an Ex-Security Engineer at Comodo Cybersecurity. Co-Founder - Cyber Security News & GBHackers On Security.


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