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Self-Destructible USB Drive Arrives With Built-In Detonator

Rostec
(Image credit: Rostec)

Rostec, a Russian high-tech conglomerate, has introduced a USB flash drive with a built-in detonator that can destroy the NAND memory chips inside. The detonator can be activated manually, and the resulting destruction is completely safe for the user, the manufacturer says. 

Technodynamika, a Rostec company, has developed a USB drive that looks like a standard flash stick, but unlike regular drives, it not only contains a NAND memory chip and a USB-to-NAND bridge/controller, but also a battery and an electric detonator. When activated by a press of a button on the end of the device, the detonator 'burns down printed circuit board with a cumulative charge,' according to Rostec. 

"This message will self-destruct in five seconds," is probably the most familiar phrase from the Mission Impossible franchise. The phrase is usually accompanied by a cinematic sequence of self-destruction, which includes burning, dissolution in acid, or something else. But in the case of Rostec's drives, the case of the device remains intact, which guarantees the owners' safety. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen how Technodynamika intends to protect the destruction button from accidental activation.

Modern drives that can quickly erase their contents usually encrypt the stored data with an AES-256 key, and they just destroy the key when it is time to retire the data. Unless you have a quantum computer with formidable performance, it is impossible to break a 256-bit key in any reasonable amount of time. Yet, for true paranoids who do not want to take any chances, Rostec's method is certainly the preferable one.

"We have created a new device that is able to reliably protect information from unauthorized access: the impossibility of data recovery has been proven by the expertise," said Igor Nasenkov, chief executive of Technodynamika. "In the future, the device will be tested for safety during long-term storage, resistance to mechanical impact, and climatic factors. We are also going to work on various design options for the case."

At present Rostec only has prototype drives, but it says that it can configure both the performance and capacity for custom orders. 

Anton Shilov
Anton Shilov

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • USAFRet
    Next on the list of things to be banned from aircraft - Flash drives.
    Reply
  • vern72
    Perfect device to put homework on... so the teacher will believe the excuse!
    Reply
  • TheOtherOne
    Your mission ....

    Reply
  • hotaru.hino
    USAFRet said:
    Next on the list of things to be banned from aircraft - Flash drives.
    Well they still allow lithium ion batteries on board despite the documented evidence they catch fire seemingly at random.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    hotaru.hino said:
    Well they still allow lithium ion batteries on board despite the documented evidence they catch fire seemingly at random.
    And some of them were banned for a while.
    This thing is designed to 'explode'.
    Reply
  • hotaru.hino
    USAFRet said:
    And some of them were banned for a while.
    This thing is designed to 'explode'.
    The FAA will ban that specific device if they catch wind of it, but your post was implying a blanket ban.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    hotaru.hino said:
    The FAA will ban that specific device if they catch wind of it, but your post was implying a blanket ban.
    And we expect the cabin crew to know Flash Drive A from Flash Drive B?
    Or one of these with a SanDisk sticker on it?

    My post was sort of in jest, but that is not too far fetched a concept.


    Whaddya mean I can't have a bottle of water?
    Reply
  • hotaru.hino
    USAFRet said:
    And we expect the cabin crew to know Flash Drive A from Flash Drive B?
    Or one of these with a SanDisk sticker on it?

    My post was sort of in jest, but that is not too far fetched a concept.
    Well again, lithium batteries seemingly explode for no reason, but they don't outright ban lithium batteries. Yes you could probably track it down to a well known device, but how do you know that some other random battery (like a cheapo AliExpress battery bank) I have won't explode? Either way, it's likely the flash drive doesn't destroy itself by literally exploding. Just set up a buck-boost converter to feed back way more voltage than the flash chip likes and it'll sort itself out.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    "When activated by a press of a button on the end of the device, the detonator 'burns down printed circuit board with a cumulative charge,' "

    Just saying...I can see the TSA taking a dim view of this device.
    Reply