The unseen: these USB sticks are literally “explosive”

If you receive a strange USB drive in the mail, do not insert it into your PC. It’s basic data security advice, but for some Ecuadorian journalists it has become life-saving advice.

A television station had to call the local police after a flash drive exploded when a journalist inserted it into a USB port.

Apparently, the device was manipulated to activate a small amount of RDX, a chemical explosive for military use, when the computer’s electrical charge was connected via USB.

According to reported the police, no one was hurt in the small explosion. Police determined that only half of the unit’s explosive charge was activated.

Four other explosive USB drives were sent to journalists and news agencies in Ecuador, three of which failed to detonate and the last was intercepted by couriers before arriving.

Organized crime is suspected. The journalist who unknowingly caused the explosion, LenĂ­n Artieda, covers crime and corruption in Ecuador, where hundreds of attacks against journalists and media outlets take place annually.

While improvised flash drive bombs have not hurt anyone so far, even a small amount of explosive inside a plastic or metal casing can cause serious shrapnel injuries.

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