Believers of 5G conspiracy theories have apparently been buying a $350 anti-5G USB key that—not surprisingly—appears to just be a regular USB stick with only 128MB of storage.
As noted by the BBC today, the "5GBioShield" USB stick "was recommended by a member of Glastonbury Town Council's 5G Advisory Committee, which has called for an inquiry into 5G." The company that sells 5GBioShield claims it "is the result of the most advanced technology currently available for balancing and prevention of the devastating effects caused by non-natural electric waves, particularly (but not limited to) 5G, for all biological life forms."
The product's website charges £283 for a single 5GBioShield, which converts to nearly $350. That's what it costs to get "protection for your home and family, thanks to the wearable holographic nano-layer catalyser, which can be worn or placed near to a smartphone or any other electrical, radiation or EMF emitting device."
"The 5GBioShield makes it possible, thanks to a uniquely applied process of quantum nano-layer technology, to balance the imbalanced electric oscillations arising from all electric fog induced by all devices such as: laptops, cordless phones, wlan, tablets, etc.," the company says, adding that the USB stick "brings balance into the field at the atomic and cellular level restoring balanced effects to all harmful (ionized and non-ionized) radiation."
The USB stick apparently doesn't need to be plugged in to anything to work its magic. "It is always ON and working—that's why we used quantum nano-layer technology," the company says in an FAQ.
But the device allegedly produces a wider field of protection when it is plugged in. To answer the question of whether the stick needs to be "charged regularly," the FAQ says, "No—the input charge only expands the field effect from 4m radius to 20m + radius when plugged into an USB wall charger or a computer."
Fortunately, you can use 5GBioShield without disabling your Wi-Fi. The USB key doesn't block Wi-Fi signals, the company says. Instead, the product "transmutes" the signals and "harmonizes all harmful frequencies into life affirming frequencies."
Teardown confirms: Its just a USB stick
But what does the 5GBioShield actually consist of? The BBC pointed to a recent teardown by security company Pen Test Partners, which found that the device is just a USB stick with 128MB of storage. The company wrote:
When plugged in to our test machine we may have missed the bubble of "quantum holographic catalyzer technology" appearing.
The stick comes loaded with a 25 page PDF version of the material from 5GBioShield's website. It included a Q&A of distances for the "bubble" and how to know if it is working. It's an "always on" system apparently, is always working, powered or not, so no visual checks needed.
A review of the stick's properties revealed nothing more than what you'd expect from a regular 128MB USB key. We weren't even sure that 128s are still in production!
Ultimately, "the 5G BioShield is nothing more than a £5 USB key with a sticker on it," the people at Pen Test wrote. "Whether or not the sticker provides £300 worth of quantum holographic catalyzer technology we'll leave you to decide."
Pen Test Partners said that "trading standards bodies should investigate this product," and that is apparently now happening. "London Trading Standards has since told the BBC it has launched a probe," the BBC article said.
Here's a look at images from the 5GBioShield website and the teardown performed by Pen Test Partners:
Company says research too sensitive to disclose
How will the company defend itself? BioShield Distribution Director Anna Grochowalska told the BBC, "We are in possession of a great deal of technical information, with plenty of back-up historical research," and "we are not authorized to fully disclose all this sensitive information to third parties, for obvious reasons."
Grochowalska also disputed the analysis that the USB stick is worth just £5:
"In regard to the costs analysis your research has produced, I believe that the lack of in-depth information will not drive you to the exact computation of our expenses and production costs, including the cost of IP [intellectual property rights], and so on," she said.
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