September 26, 2019

Cyber security: Why you should not borrow charger, use public USB

Cyber security

By Juliet Umeh


It is a common practice for smartphone users in Nigeria and across the world to borrow chargers when they either misplace or forget their chargers somewhere.

Cyber security:

But, Cybersecurity experts have advised against such practise, saying that people’s device could be hacked through chargers.

This was revealed recently at the annual DEF CON Hacking Conference in Las Vegas, USA. Global Managing Partner and Head of X-Force Red at IBM Security, Mr Charles Henderson, said cyber hackers have learnt the skill of implanting malware on charging cables thereby gaining access to people’s devices.

He narrated how he set up a team of hackers to try and deter clients from trusting third party chargers.

Henderson said: “Cyber hackers have learnt the skill of implanting malware on charging cables.”

At the conference, a certain hacker, MG, demonstrated how modified charging cables work.

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He said: “When connected to a device, the hacker remotely gains access and takes over the device. The hacker could also delete any trace of evidence from the system.

Henderson further explained that this sort of hack is yet to become a global problem but advised that people should pay attention to when the tech is cheap and really small.

He also advised against charging devices with public USB ports especially at the airports, train stations and other public outlets to check Cyber security threats.

He added that people sharing cables are equivalent to sharing passwords and cited a possible situation he likened to sharing cable.

Henderson said: “If you were on a trip and realised you forgot to pack underwear, you will not ask all your co-travellers if you could borrow their underwear. You will go to a store and buy new underwear.”

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