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The iPhone charger that could hack your phone


Forbes reports on a proof-of-concept allowing an innocent-looking charger to inject malware into a non-jailbroken iPhone without user intervention.

At the upcoming Black Hat security conference in late July, three researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology plan to show off a proof-of-concept charger that they say can be used to invisibly install malware on a device running the latest version of Apple’s iOS …

The researchers write that their attack can compromise an iOS device running the most recent version of Apple’s mobile operating system in less than a minute …

It’s not the first time a charger has been used as an attack method for a phone, but it’s believed to be the first example of a successful automated hack of a non-jailbroken iPhone.

It’s so far a pretty theoretical risk. The current hardware they are using wouldn’t fit into a standard iPhone charger, but it does show one weakness of the now-ubiquitous combined charging and data port found in all of today’s phones and tablets, and a potential risk of taking advantage of the chargers sometimes made available in airports and coffee shops – especially if you can’t see the wall unit.

The researchers have shared their methods with Apple, so it’s likely that the method will be blocked in a future iOS update.

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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