This iPhone charging cable can steal your data

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 16, 2019

The creator of the device hopes it can be produced as a legitimate security tool, and wants to use it for educational purposes. It's very unlikely that Apple Lightning cables found on the shelves of an Apple Store will be compromised, but you may not be able to be completely certain with cables purchased from other sources. Once connected to a computer, the cable lets the hacker run commands as if sitting in front of the screen.

"Not even your computer will notice a difference - until I, as an attacker, wirelessly take control of the cable". Dubbed the O.MG cable, it works just like any iPhone data cables and looks nearly identical to the official Lightning cable.

When the security researcher typed in the IP address of the counterfeited cable in his phone's browser, he was presented with options including opening a terminal on a Mac.

Once plugged into your device, from a nearby device and within Wi-Fi range, a hacker can wirelessly transmit malicious payloads on your computer, reports Motherboard.

"Apple has always made sure that users" data stays private and secure from hackers. The cables also include a "kill switch" to hide evidence of any suspicious activity or its existence. MG told Cox he needed to be within 300 feet of the target machine to gain access, but said the cable could be configured to act as a wireless network client, potentially allowing him to hack from an unlimited distance.

To do this, he took a standard Apple USB Lightning cable and rigged it with a small, nearly invisible Wi-Fi-enabled implant.

At this point there doesn't appear to be any known defence against this attack, although we'd suspect that Apple will soon take steps in future releases of macOS to tighten up security on the USB port in much the same way that it has for the iPhone's Lightning port. MG told Motherboard that he had built the implants in his kitchen before integrating them into the cable, with each one taking four hours to assemble.

As a precautionary measure, we recommend using original Apple cables and refrain from using cables offered by anyone else.

"To identify counterfeit or uncertified cables and accessories, look carefully at the accessory's packaging and at the accessory itself", Apple explains.

"An Apple Lightning to USB cable has "Designed by Apple in California" and either "Assembled in China", "Assembled in Vietnam", or "Indústria Brasileira" on the cable about seven inches from the USB connector". "You'll see a 12-digit serial number at the end of this text".

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