It’s no secret that USB flash drives, as small and unremarkable as they may look, can be turned into agents of chaos. Over the years, we’ve seen them used to infiltrate an Iranian nuclear facility, infect critical control systems in US power plants, morph into programmable, undetectable attack platforms, and destroy attached computers with a surprise 220-volt electrical surge. Although these are just a few examples, they should be enough to preclude one from inserting a mysterious, unsolicited USB drive mailed to them into a computer. Unfortunately, one Ecuadorian journalist didn’t get the memos.
As reported by the Agence France-Presse (via CBS News) on Tuesday, five Ecuadorian journalists have received USB drives in the mail from Quimsaloma. Each of the USB sticks was meant to explode when activated.
Upon receiving the drive, Lenin Artieda of the Ecuavisa TV station in Guayaquil inserted it into his computer, at which point it exploded. According to a police official who spoke with AFP, the journalist suffered mild hand and face injuries, and no one else was harmed.