Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), for most of its history as a computer company, has been ignorant and impervious to various malware attacks. For mot of the last 35 years, Apple has been cruising along as a favorite of many consumers and some enterprises due to its security within its operating system that keeps malicious code, worms and other cyber-creepy-crawlies from entering an Apple computer and infecting it or the network to which it is connected.
And speaking of connections, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been known for having innovative connectors with their devices so that regular adapters from other phones or devices cannot be used on an iPhone or iPad. But if you forget your charger at home and you are on a business trip, you might feel a sense of security when you ask a fellow iPhone user to borrow his or her charger. But do you really know that person or where that charger came from? Some researchers at Georgia Tech will be revealing a warning to iDevice users regarding those borrowed connectors.
These researchers have discovered a way that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) devices could be exploited through USB connectors.
The three researchers will reveal the exploit at cyber-security conference in Las Vegas next month, but they did give a sneak preview of the issue. Their research showed that malware could be implanted in an iDevice through a charger via USB. And this can be very silent; the malware could get into the iDevice through the charger and it can remain stable inside the device and be very hard to detect, much less isolate and remove from the system. The malicious charger the researcher created was built from a BeagleBoard which cost less than $50, and other more sophisticated charging devices can be made with a little more time.
OK, so a BeagleBoard cannot fit in an Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iDevice, but it can be used with a docking station or as part of an external battery assembly – all of which are ways for malware to still get into an iDevice from a malicious connector, the researchers discovered. With many trying to “jailbreak” their iDevices, Apple has already been hard at work fixing any exploits that are discovered, and it seems that once details of this new research become known, Cupertino will be on the front lines to try to cut off any potential hacking issues in the future.
What are your thoughts about this? Are you concerned about a corrupted charger? Give us your feedback in the comments section below.