Iphones and other Apple devices can be compromised with malicious fake charger


#1

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#2

We need micro USB prophylactics - tiny sleeves that block pins 2, 3, and 4, but let power flow through 1 and 5.


#3

I have a mini-USB "Charging Only" cable that came with a charger, so things like that probably do exist.


#4

This exploit is supposedly now resolved in the latest iOS 7 beta.


#5

There have been similar exploits in the past for Android phones and even older USB-enabled "dumb" phones. I just never trust public "charging stations" with USB ports. Nobody has figured out a way to exploit an AC outlet (yet)...


#6

Sure they have - it's called bypassing the pole-top transformer outside your house and feeding your outlets 10KV.


#7

If you want to get technical, that's power on 1, 4, and 5, and data on 2 and 3.
Some USB headers don't have a pin 5 anyway (it's a ground same as 4).

I'm not horrifically worried. First I assume they are using a computer to do the actual attack...which I never use to charge my phone (and now that I can sync via wifi I'm not sure why I'd need to hook it to one at this point at all). The only real fear I have is it might be possible to create an embedded setup in the Apple connect end that would actually do the "attack" regardless if it is connect to a wall wart or a computer.


#8

Nice smile
It would blow your breaker panel before it got to the outlet, unless of-course you bypassed that first... They still wouldn't get the data off your phone.


#9

Huh - I thought 5 was always ground, and 4 was not connected.


#10

It's not your computer that you have to worry about, it's charging stations in airports or other public places that give you a USB port to plug in to. You assume it's just offering power but there could be an embedded computer on the other end of it waiting to pwn you.

I agree that it's nothing to get hysterical about, though.


#11

Well, I think you get a prompt as to whether or not you want to "trust" the charger. So if you see this message on a "regular old charger" then you'd better be a bit worried.


#12

Would a "battery backpack" USB passthru offer any point of security? Something like a Mophie Juice pack? Not precisely a USB firewall, but a means of blocking all port activity besides charging. Is this how it already works?


#13

Just don't ask your Catholic insurance company to pay for them.


#14

Apple's gonna come after you for failing to submit to their capitalization scheme.


#15

I've seen a few articles about elite 1%er social events which feature a portable-electronics charging table as a perk for the guests. Just saying.


#16

Actually, as I recall from the conversation here at Blackhat, they used a Beaglebone tiny computer built into the station, not a visibly full PC.


#17

This project seems to address this very issue -- detects charger types and also blocks data transfer, while communicating the charger capacity to your phone -- PortPilot. Also measures USB power, kind of cool.


#18

Since this is relatively old and only made the news again because of the iOS 7 fix, you'd think Cory would have mentioned it. I guess not.


#19

Would the breakers stop 10KV or would it just arc over?


#20

Is there a way to tell if there's a computer on the other end? Like some sort of a device with some lights which would indicate there was activity on the data lines?