Saturday, March 6, 2010

Don't touch that USB dongle that came in the mail

My wife found an advertising insert from a AstraZeneca (pharmaceuticals) in a recent medical journal. It was a little USB dongle that promised to tell you more about some recent drug they were pitching.

It turns out that the dongle is quite a nasty piece of work. It's not a USB drive at all, but it impersonates an Apple keyboard (ID 05ac:020b Apple, Inc. Pro Keyboard [Mitsumi, A1048/US layout]). When you plug it in, it attempts to type a command line to direct your web browser to their site. I little research uncovered that American Express was doing this last October. This appears to be an identical device. Read more here:

And that is an interesting story too. I broke open the shell to find a small board with a KYP logo and a model tag "Web Key". KYP is a marketing company, rather than an electronics firm, and they seem quite proud of this little baby.. You can read more here:

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