Security & Privacy

BusKill

A USB kill cord for your laptop

$18,507 raised

of $1 goal

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$99

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BusKill is the world’s first laptop kill cord, a hardware "dead man’s switch" that executes a user-configurable trigger when your machine is physically separated from you. BusKill can protect the data stored on your (encrypted) device and any accounts that you’re currently logged into from the worst case scenario of a snatch-and-run thief. It is designed to be easy-to-use on Linux, Windows 10, and MacOS. The GUI app currently supports the ability to trigger a lockscreen on all three platforms. Even better, we’ll soon be releasing built-in triggers to shutdown the computer when the cable disconnects.

Advanced Linux users can manually add auxiliary triggers, such as a self-destruct trigger that wipes the LUKS header, making the entire disk permanently inaccessible (even to rubber-hose cryptanalysis). Note that this is an advanced feature that is intentionally inaccessible upon startup. BusKill will, of course, not ship with any destructive triggers!

A Lifesaver for Tourists, Journalists, Activists and More

BusKill is useful in a wide variety of situations.

Primarily, BusKill can help journalists operating in oppressive regime keep their documents and their sources safe when the political police suddenly raid their workplace.

BusKill can also protect a tourist’s important accounts from a snatch-and-run laptop thief when logged-in, or keep an activist’s affinity group safe when the secret police suddenly raid an organizer’s home.

It can protect the private keys stored on a crypto trader’s machine while trading OTC or on an exchange, and generally prevent an unlocked computer from ending-up in any competitor’s hands.

BusKill Demo

Features & Specifications

Incredibly Simple to Use

1. Attach BusKill cord to your belt loop, or another secure attachment point (we suggest on your person).

2. Plug BusKill in.

Then simply navigate to the BusKill app on your computer (if you don’t already have it, it is easily downloadable on GitHub), and click the "arm" button.

BusKill App Arm/Disarm Demo

Comparisons

BusKill is the first-ever implementation of a hardware kill cord for laptops. As such, there aren’t any real competitors on the market.

While there are many "convenience" tools on the market that try to automatically lock your machine when you walk away from your laptop, none of them are designed with security in mind like BusKill. Bluetooth-based solutions often even unlock the device when you enter range again, which really wouldn’t work, for example, for journalists operating in oppressive regimes.

Not only are radio/heartbeat solutions full of false-positives (and therefore tuned to be exceedingly slow), any radio-based solution just opens the floodgates for potential attack like radio jamming, replay attacks, etc.

BusKill is the only trustworthy product on the market that will immediately and safely lock you machine when it’s physically separated from you.

BusKillDay TripperUVB Impulse RadarWindows 10 Dynamic LockNear LockBlue Proximity
Open-SourceYes Yes No No No Yes
Active DevelopmentYes Yes ? ? No No
Magnetic BreakawayYes No No No No No
Easy to UseYes Windows Only Yes Yes Yes Yes
SecureYes No No No No No
Supports WindowsYes Yes Yes Yes No No
Supports MacOSYes Yes No No Yes No
Supports LinuxYes No No No No Yes

Support & Documentation

We believe in open source. All our designs and documentation are licensed CC-BY-SA and our code is GPLv3.

Our "Hardware Developer Guide" in our documentation is here. The BusKill app is on github here, and progress on 3D printable components can be found here.

Finally, if you have a question about BusKill, you can reach us using the Ask a technical question link below.

Manufacturing Plan

BusKill is made up of the following components:

Fulfillment & Logistics

After testing and packaging the production batch of BusKill products, we will send them on to Crowd Supply’s fulfillment partner, Mouser Electronics, who will distribute them to backers worldwide. You can learn more about Crowd Supply’s fulfillment service under Ordering, Paying, and Shipping in their guide.

Risks & Challenges

BusKill is designed to be easy-to-use for folks of all (and no) technical literacy. It ships with a simple GUI app, and it runs on Linux, Windows, and MacOS. Typically, ease-of-use and security are mutually exclusive. This is a challenge for BusKill and all security products.

Our customers can buy the BusKill cable kit including a USB drive with the BusKill GUI pre-installed. While this is incredibly convenient, it introduces risk.

We’ve gone through significant effort to secure the software supply chain (limited and pinned dependencies, cryptographically signed releases & updates) and to provide our customers a means to secure the physical supply chain (ordering over Tor with Monero).

The BusKill cable itself does not have a PCB (just supply your own USB drive). We are also working on designing a 3d-printable magnetic breakaway component, whoose hardware integrity can be verified by non-destructive disassembly & reassembly. By backing this campaign, you’re supporting continued development on this and other safeguards.

In the Press

CNX Software

"Data can be extremely valuable, so Alt Shift designed the BusKill USB kill cord that will automatically execute a user-configurable trigger when your machine is physically separated from you."

Electromaker

"The idea behind it is great...that you can attach this to yourself and if you walk away from your computer it will kill the computer."

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Knapsack News

"Device theft is one thing, but data theft could be disastrous... [Buskill] is a clever idea and a great way to keep your data, keys, and wallets safe from terrible interlopers."

PCWorld

"...seriously hardcore security in...a magnetic breakaway cable"

Techcrunch Logo

Techcrunch

"Journalists, activists, and human rights defenders face a constant battle to keep files safe from a growing set of digital threats... BusKill...acts as a “dead man’s switch,” locking a computer if someone physically snatches it..."


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Ask a Question

Produced by Alt Shift in Kesklinna linnaosa, Tallinn, Estonia.

Sold and shipped by Crowd Supply.

Full BusKill Kit

This kit includes a custom magnetic-breakaway cable, a carabiner, and a USB Type-A drive preloaded with the BusKill software. It's designed to be a complete hardware kill-cable solution that is straightforward and easy-to-use. No high-tech knowledge required!

$99 $8 US Shipping / $18 Worldwide

About the Team

Alt Shift

Kesklinna linnaosa, Tallinn, Estonia  ·  altshift.in

Alt Shift International brings innovative, open-source, easy-to-use, security-related hardware to market.

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