Michael Altfield is a software engineer, writer, security expert, and privacy advocate.
Michael was born a third-generation immigrant in the US. In 2013, he graduated from UCF with a BS in Computer Science and a minor in Secure Computing and Networking. He is also an alumni of the Recurse Center (Hacker School), New York City.
At the age of 14, Michael started building Linux servers. He's since been a tireless supporter of the free software movement and has contributed to several FOSS projects--including Open Source Ecology, Wikipedia, phpList, BusKill, and Coviz.
In 2007, Michael started a technology blog, where he's written extensively on topics such as Linux, Privacy, and Security.
Between semesters at UCF, Michael cycled over 13,000 kilometers across the United States and raised over $5,000 for Multiple Sclerosis research.
In 2020, Michael invented the first laptop kill cord and founded the BusKill open-source hardware project. His work was featured internationally in over a dozen news outlets, including Sohu, Forbes, TechCrunch, PCMag, PCWorld, PCGamer, ZDNet, Tom's Hardware, Bleeping Computer, CoinDesk, Heise, pplware, and Security Affairs.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Michael founded the Coviz open-source project to publish data visualizations predicting the future spread of the virus.
In his spare time--in addition to cycling--Michael has gone on several treks in the Patagonian Andes, the Indian Himalayas, the Sierra Nevada of California, the Chugach mountains of Alaska, the Canadian Rockies, and the Scandinavian Mountains.
You can contact Michael Altfield via email.
You can also view Michael Altfield's CV for more of his professional background.
Below is a subset of the articles that have featured Michael and his work:
- Starks, Kimberly (August 02, 2006). "Kennesaw high schooler helps keep city wired". Marietta Daily Journal. Retrieved Aug 09, 2006.
- Schwartz, Elyssa (September 23, 2010). "Student bikes cross-country to raise green awareness". Central Florida Future. Retrieved Aug 15, 2020.
- Kelly, Emire (September 27, 2010). "Lusk takes SGA stage again". Central Florida Future. Retrieved Aug 15, 2020.
- Cahuasqui, Megan (February 14, 2012). "Wiki page compiles facts about university". Central Florida Future. Retrieved Aug 15, 2020.
- Winder, Davey (January 03, 2020). "This $20 USB Cable Is A Dead Man’s Switch For Your Laptop". Forbes. Retrieved Aug 13, 2020.
- Kan, Michael (January 02, 2020). "Programmer's USB Cable Can Kill Laptop If Machine is Yanked Away". PCMag. Retrieved Aug 13, 2020.
- Cimpanu, Catalin (January 02, 2020). "New USB cable kills your Linux laptop if stolen in a public place". ZDNet. Retrieved Aug 13, 2020.
- Mott, Nathaniel (January 04, 2020). "The 'BusKill' USB Cable Secures Your Laptop Against Thieves". Tom's Hardware. Retrieved Aug 13, 2020.
- Ilascu, Ionut (January 04, 2020). "BusKill Cable Starts a Self-Destruct Routine on Stolen Laptops". Bleeping Computer. Retrieved Aug 13, 2020.
- Biggs, John (January 03, 2020). "BusKill Is a DIY Tool to Lock Down Your Laptop". CoinDesk. Retrieved Aug 13, 2020.
- Davenport, Corbin (January 03, 2020). "This guy made a USB kill switch for his laptop for $20, and you can make one too". PC Gamer. Retrieved Aug 13, 2020.
- "笔记本防盗时帮助抹去信息的USB数据线，神器还是鸡肋？" [The USB data cable that helps to erase information when the laptop is anti-theft, is it an artifact or a tasteless?]. Sohu (in Chinese). 2020-01-05. Retrieved Aug 13, 2020.
- Simões, Pedro (January 03, 2020). "Buskill: Afinal a segurança máxima do Linux está num simples cabo USB" [Buskill: After all, the maximum security of Linux is in a simple USB cable]. Pplware (in Portuguese). Retrieved Aug 13, 2020.
- Korben (January 06, 2020). "Un câble USB pour autodétruire votre ordinateur sous Linux s’il est volé ? Voici BusKill !" [A USB cable to self-destruct your Linux computer if it's stolen? Here is BusKill!]. Korben.info (in French). Retrieved Aug 13, 2020.
- Иванов, Олег (January 04, 2020). "Кабель BusKill уничтожит личные данные на Linux-ноутбуке в случае кражи" [BusKill cable will destroy personal data on Linux laptop in case of theft]. Anti-Malware (in Russian). Retrieved Aug 13, 2020.
- S, Gurubaran (January 03, 2020). "BusKill - A new USB Kill Cord Switch to Self-Destruct Your Data on Linux Machine". GBHackers on Security. Retrieved Aug 13, 2020.
- Paganini, Pierluigi (January 04, 2020). "BusKill, a $20 USB Dead Man’s Switch for Linux Laptop". Security Affairs. Retrieved Aug 13, 2020.
- Asif, Sudais (January 03, 2020). "BusKill USB cable switches off your laptop in the event of theft". HackRead. Retrieved Aug 13, 2020.
- Schmeh, Klaus (October 19, 2020). "Razzia in der Silk Road" [Raid in the Silk Road]. c't RETRO 27/2020 (in German). Retrieved Nov 12, 2020.
- Aufranc, Jean-Luc (December 15, 2021). "BusKill USB kill cord protects data on Linux, Windows, Mac OS devices". CNX Software. Retrieved Jan 08, 2022.
- Whittaker, Zack (December 17, 2021). "This USB ‘kill cord’ can instantly wipe your laptop if snatched or stolen". TechCrunch. Retrieved Jan 08, 2022.
- Mantel, Mark (December 15, 2021). "BusKill: "Sicherheitskabel" macht Notebook-Datenträger unbrauchbar [Buskill: "safety cable" makes notebook disk useless]". Heise (in German). Retrieved Jan 08, 2022.
- Crider, Michael (December 17, 2021). "This USB ‘dead man’s switch’ locks down (or kills) snatched laptops". PCWorld. Retrieved Jan 08, 2022.
- Horsey, Julian (December 15, 2021). "BusKill USB kill cord keeps your laptop data safe". Geeky Gadgets. Retrieved Jan 08, 2022.
- Nickel, Oliver (December 16, 2021). "Magnetisches Kabel dient als Killswitch für Notebooks [Magnetic cable serves as a killswitch for notebooks]". Golem (in German). Retrieved Jan 08, 2022.
- Buckley, Ian (August 04, 2021). "BusKill Prelaunch". The Electromaker Show, episode 55.
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Talks, Interviews, Etc
Below is a subset of the talks that Michael has given:
- (November 09, 2018). "Auditing Android Security (Investigating Unauthorized Screenshots)." Recurse Center. New York City, USA.
- (December 30, 2021). "BusKill Laptop Kill Cords." Chaos Communication Congress. Berlin, Germany.
- (January 14, 2022). "OpSec And Privacy." The Teardown Sessions (Episode 17). Portland, USA.
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