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


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


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

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


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)…

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

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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.

Nice :slight_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.

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

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.

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.

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?

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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?