Monday, July 8, 2013

Cybercriminals coming to a phone charger near you? Researchers say maybe...

The simplicity of chargers, especially ones that you can use for multiple devices, is appealing.  Something is running low on a battery, you just plug it in.  You never really give a charging plug much thought do you?  It either works or it doesn’t.  But what if it does more than you expected?

The good news is, the good guys found a new vulnerability in an iPhone charger and they are going to tell other good guys what to do to fix it.  The bad news is, who would have thought they had to worry about the plug being used to infect their computer?

A group of good guy researchers are at it again and this time they are at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  In a recent announcement they said they can turn your iPhone charger into a stealth malicious code monster that can hack your phone.  The good guys will talk about how the hack works at a security conference.

According to a report on Mashable, the researchers purposely used inexpensive technology to prove this was not expensive to do.  They estimate that they spent $45 on a product called a BeagleBoard which is a simple type of computer.  

Once you plug your iPhone to the infected plug, it takes them less than a minute to infect the phone.  No user interaction required!

The good guys have shared their findings with Apple.  

How can you protect yourself?
For now, only purchase or use plugs that you know are from an official Apple store and are not 2nd or 3rd hande.

Word of the week:
Clueful:  Want to know how your apps reveal your privacy?  Get a clue with Clueful.  The app shows you how apps snoop and snitch on you.  Learn more about this app at:

The researchers share the summary of their upcoming speech here:

Forbes spoke with the researchers in this article:

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