USBKill can turn your computer off immediately
Worried about the police raiding you and collecting all your data? Some programmers have invented a USB kill switch activated by anyone accessing USB ports on a PC simonok, Free Images

Inspired by what happened to Ross Ulbricht, a group of programmers have created a program that can be placed on a USB stick and used to immediately shut down a computer so the police cannot access its contents.

Ulbricht, the founder of the secret underground Silk Road drug marketplace, was arrested during a raid by the FBI, while his computer was still on, which enabled the officers to seize $28m (£18m) in Bitcoins from a server hosting the website.

The USBKill project on GitHub is designed to run a script on a user's PC that turns into a kill switch if a user is detected trying to use a USB tool called a "mouse jiggler" to prevent the computer from locking itself, which would then require a password access.

"USBKill waits for a change on your USB ports, then immediately kills your computer," project author Hephaestos writes on Github.

"The police will use a mouse jiggler to keep the screensaver and sleep mode from activating. If this happens you would like your computer to shut down immediately."

Hephaestos advises that if users are concerned the police might seize computers during a raid and pull USB sticks out of them, they should wear the USB stick containing USBKill on their wrist.

If they are tackled to the ground during the raid, the USB stick will unplug and trigger the computer to shut down.

The USBKill project's authors plan to add more commands and capabilities to the tool but they say it works as it is right now.

If the script were to be run on a virtual machine running on the computer in question, essentially this would cause it to disappear without trace, which would be very effective in foiling the police.

However, there is no point using USBKill unless the user's computer and server has been properly encrypted and if you refuse to tell the authorities what the password is, you could potentially wind up in even more trouble.