The USG is Good, not Bad
The USG is a firewall for your USB ports, protecting your computer from BadUSB. It connects between your computer and your untrusted USB device, isolating the badness and keeping your computer safe. This is the firmware branch for the pre-assembled USG v1.0. If you want to build your own USG out of development boards, clone the v0.9 branch instead. USG v1.0 hardware now available. You can now order your own USG hardware by contacting the developer. Pricing is NZ$80 each (approx US$60) plus shipping to your country of choice. It will ship fully tested and pre-loaded with the latest firmware.[…]
New Intel processors contain a debugging interface accessible via USB 3.0 ports that can be used to obtain full control over a system and perform attacks that are undetectable by current security tools. A talk on the mechanisms needed for such attacks and ways to protect against them was given by Positive Technologies experts Maxim Goryachy and Mark Ermolov at the 33rd Chaos Communication Congress (33C3) in Hamburg, Germany. […]
Some background on these interfaces:
Excerpting information about the new 3.2 “USB passthrough” feature from the announcement blog post:
[…] In Qubes 3.2, we’re also introducing USB passthrough, which allows one to assign individual USB devices, such as cameras, Bitcoin hardware wallets, and various FTDI devices, to AppVMs. This means that it’s now possible to use Skype and other video conferencing software on Qubes! Qubes has supported the sandboxing of USB devices since the very beginning (2010), but the catch has always been that all the USB devices connected to the same USB controller had to be assigned to the same VM. This limitation was due to the underlying hardware architecture (specifically, PCIe and VT-d technologies). We can now get around this limitation by using software backends. The price we pay for this, however, is increased attack surface on the backend, which is important in the event that several USB devices of different security contexts are connected to a single controller. Sadly, on laptops this is almost always the case. Another potential security problem is that USB virtualization does not prevent a potentially malicious USB device from attacking the VM to which it is connected. These problems are not inherent to Qubes OS. In fact, they pose an even greater threat to traditional, monolithic operating systems. In the case of Qubes, it has at least been possible to isolate all USB devices from the user’s AppVMs. The new USB passthrough feature gives the user more fine-grained control over the management of USB devices while still maintaining this isolation. Nonetheless, it’s very important for users to realize that there are no “automagical” solutions to malicious USB problems. Users should plan their compartmentalization with this in mind. We should also mention that Qubes has long supported the secure virtualization of a certain class of USB devices, specifically mass storage devices (such as flash drives and external hard drives) and, more recently, USB mice. Please note that it is always preferable to use these special, security-optimized protocols when available rather than generic USB passthrough. […]
Recently SPYRUS, Inc. announced the integration of their NIST 140-2 Level 3 secure USB 3.0 drive family with Microsoft Surface Pro devices.
“SPYRUS is currently the only manufacturer of hardware encrypted Windows To Go products that have successfully integrated support with the Microsoft Surface Pro family of tablets. The unique feature set, to include provisioning support to boot the Windows To Go in UEFI Secure Boot mode, in conjunction with FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certification sets a new standard for security features and performance,” said Tom Dickens, SPYRUS COO. “Use cases for these smart drives also dovetail perfectly with the rapidly emerging requirements for collaboration, secure data storage, secure mobile computing, and secure devices with auditable cybersecurity.”
As reported by Toms Hardware and other news sources, a new company in Hong Kong is selling a USB-frying unit called “USB Killer 2.0”, and a “USB Killer Test Shield”.
“Temporarily Out of Stock.”