You probably never thought that simply charging your mobile
device would make you susceptible to malware
, but apparently these types of hardware hacks could be the next big thing among cyber criminals. To prove it, a trio of security researchers built a proof-of-concept charger that they claim is capable of silently installing malware onto iPhone
devices when plugged in.
They plan to present their hack at the Black Hat security conference later this summer. In the meantime, they're keeping most of the details to themselves, though they did reveal that it's based on the open-source BeagleBoard
by Texas Instruments, a $45 PC similar to the Raspberry Pi
Researchers used a BeagleBoard to develop a malware-infected iPhone charger.
"This hardware was selected to demonstrate the ease with which innocent-looking, malicious USB chargers can be constructed," the researchers said.
Here's the rub for such a contraption. The BeagleBoard measures 3.4 inches by 2.1 inches, and building a phone charger around a board that size would seem suspicious at best. However, what if it was part of a docking station or some other third-party device with a built-in battery? Furthermore, if this technology can be downsized, it would make buying third-party chargers on eBay and other outlets risky business.