In April a body connected to a local U.K. town council published its own report, and dubiously claimed that various wireless spectrums, including 5G, posed a harm to human health. In that report, it recommended people purchase a so-called "5G Bioshield" device for £300 ($370) to protect themselves.
"We use this device and find it helpful," the report read. In the last few months, a bizarre conspiracy theory has gained popularity that ties the deployment of 5G to coronavirus, and in both the UK and Canada, people have burnt down and vandalized 5G towers.
But, perhaps as expected, the 5G Bioshield device is quite literally just a USB key with a sticker on it, according to newly released research from researchers at cybersecurity firm PenTest Partners.
"In our opinion the 5G Bioshield is nothing more than a £5 USB key with a sticker on it. Whether or not the sticker provides £300 pounds worth of quantum holographic catalyzer technology we’ll leave you to decide," the blog post from PenTest Partners reads.
PenTest partners say they ordered three of the devices, which came in a bold, purple bag with a lion logo. The key itself is engraved with what appears to be an emblem of Saint George and The Dragon. The key came preloaded with a PDF explaining what the device is supposed to do.
"This is a REAL USB key ! It protects, AND it informs at the same time," a screenshot included in the blog post reads.
The device's website reads, "The 5GBioShield USB Key with the nano-layer is a quantum holographic catalyzer technology for the balance and harmonisation of the harmful effects of imbalanced electric radiation." The site also claimed that the device is the product of decades of research from multiple countries.
The researchers then took the device apart. Beyond finding that it was indeed a real, functioning USB key, they found that "The circular area on the main casing looked like it might be where the 'quantum holographic catalyzer technology' transmitter might be. Carefully taking that off, not to damage the key components and, with crushing disappointment, it looked exactly like a regular sticker."
The researchers found no other electrical or other connections between the device and the sticker, and no other components beyond just the USB stick itself.
Toby Hall, one of the external members of the town council's advisory committee and who provided the link to the product in the report, told the BBC that he had no regrets purchasing the device.
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This article originally appeared on VICE US.