Tech by VICE

Someone Is Putting Malicious USB Sticks in Australian Mailboxes

Spoiler: It's not a good idea to plug a random USB into your device.

by Joseph Cox
Sep 21 2016, 9:40am

A picture of the offending USBs. Image: Victoria Police

Some people just can't resist the urge to plug random USB sticks into their computers. Now, someone in Australia is taking full advantage of the public's naivety when it comes to cybersecurity.

On Wednesday, police from Victoria warned of malicious USB sticks being placed in citizens' mailboxes.

"The USB drives are believed to be extremely harmful and members of the public are urged to avoid plugging them into their computers or other devices," the announcement reads.

Those who plug the devices into their PCs are presented with "fraudulent media streaming service offers, as well as other serious issues," the announcement adds.

According to a recent study, 48 percent of people will pick up a random USB stick

It's probably not the first time someone has done this, judging by several posts on social media from the last few months.

"Received a #USB #key in my #mailbox. Never EVER plug in such present," one Twitter user apparently from France wrote in July.

"Someone put a USB in my mailbox. No note, no nothing, just the USB… So tempted to see whats on it," wrote another user in April, before quickly following up: "would rather not have another broken device due to stupidity. So sorry usb, you're probably going to into the garbage [sic]."

But some people aren't that careful. According to a recent study from researchers at the University of Illinois, 48 percent of people will pick up a random USB stick, plug it into their computer, and open files contained on it.

Even if it comes in your mail, using an unsolicited USB stick is never a great idea.

motherboard show
USB Drives