Many people plug in their charging cables into their computers without a second thought, which could be a dangerous window of opportunity for hackers.
There is now a newly developed iPhone lightning charging cable that doesn't just charge smartphones, but also hijacks computers for attackers.
An O.MG Hacking Cable
According to Motherboard, this modified charger called O.MG Cable has an implant that lets a hacker connect to a computer that the cable is attached to. It's designed by security researcher Mike Grover, also known as MG.
With O.MG Cable, hackers can simply switch a target's regular charging cable with the fake one and gain unfettered access to computer. MG suggested the possibility of giving the hacking cable to a target as a gift.
"It looks like a legitimate cable and works just like one," MG told Motherboard's Joseph Cox at the annual Def Con hacking conference. "Not even your computer will notice a difference. Until I, as an attacker, wirelessly take control of the cable."
As soon as the cable is connected to a computer and WiFi, hackers get full control to carry out commands remotely. Hackers can simply type in the IP address of the O.MG Cable into their own smartphone browser, then be offered a slew of options that allow them to run various programs on their target's computer.
MG revealed that a hacker could be up to 300 feet away from the target to connect, but an antenna could make the potential distance greater. It can also be tweaked to be a client to a nearby wireless network, which could make the distance unlimited if the network is connected to the internet.
The USB can also be "killed" from a distance, which eliminates evidence of its use.
The O.MG is a perfect replica of an original iPhone lightning charger, even featuring the correct packaging pieces that a real one comes with.
A Handmade Hacker's Tool
The fake iPhone charger was made by modifying legitimate Apple cables by hand. Each one takes around four hours to produce.
"In the end, I was able to create 100 percent of the implant in my kitchen and then integrate it into a cable," MG continued, adding that the prototypes presented at Def Con were completed in much the same way.
O.MG cables are being sold for $200.
MG is hoping to produce these cables as a legitimate security tool, which is something that the company Hak5 is also interested in.