A USB Based Greater Contingency Spell For Linux Wizards Who Work In Public Spaces

Source: Slashdot A USB Based Greater Contingency Spell For Linux Wizards Who Work In Public Spaces

A Dead Mans’ Switch For Your Laptop

The BusKill USB system was designed by Michael Altfield and while not yet for sale, he has kindly posted the instructions on how to make one and modify what it does here.   Physically it is a USB drive with a sturdy hole for a key chain to secure it to yourself, connected to a USB extension cord which runs from aforementioned USB drive to your computer.  To make sure you get a clean disconnect if someone were to snag your laptop off of a table that cord is connected to a magnetic breakaway adapter which connects the assembly to a USB port on your machine.

If the cord is cut, or disconnected physically by a wannabe thief, it triggers a udev file which can then lock your machine, delete certain files and folders or even wipe it, the limit of contingencies is defined by your programming level.  The parts to make this are rather inexpensive and can save you quite a bit of headache in the long term.  It would be an interesting project to see if this could be replicated for Windows machines.


The cable, named BusKill, was designed by Michael Altfield, a software engineer and Linux sysadmin from Orlando, Florida. The idea is to connect the BusKill cable to your Linux laptop on one end, and to your belt, on the other end. When someone yanks your laptop from your lap or table, the USB cable disconnects from the laptop and triggers a udev script that executes a series of preset operations.

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Jeremy Hellstrom

Call it K7M.com, AMDMB.com, or PC Perspective, Jeremy has been hanging out and then working with the gang here for years. Apart from the front page you might find him on the BOINC Forums or possibly the Fraggin' Frogs if he has the time.

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