Plug & play kill switch

Earlier this week, a colleague suggested that, since we handle a lot of personal information, we should all encrypt our hard drives. After all, passwords offer zero protection once a thief has physical access to your machine. (That said, please use strong passwords.)

But, what if your computer gets stolen or seized while you’re still logged in? There are specialized USB dongles out there designed to keep your computer awake / on, enabling thieves to rifle your files at their leisure. It’s a big chink in your digital armor.

This week’s project, usbkill, aims to fix that. Hephaestos’ Python script constantly monitors your USB ports. If it detects that a device has been plugged in or removed, your machine immediately shuts down.

Coupled with a strong password & an encrypted drive, usbkill makes it much harder for thieves to gain unauthorized access your files.

Seeing is believing, so here it is in action:

To summarize:

  1. Encrypt your hard drive.
  2. Use strong passwords, two factor authentication, and a decent password manager.
  3. Don’t forget about physical access threats.
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2017 Neal Shyam