I read a recent article by Joseph Cox in VICE Magazine detailing custom lightning cables a hacker produced painstakingly by hand to look exactly like the in-box cable provided by Apple, complete with the little white sticky tabs the cable normally comes wrapped in.
However the cables contain an implant allowing a hacker to remotely access any device the cable is plugged into.
As if the world wasn’t scary enough, now we have to double check our cables to make sure they are legitimate, and not in fact a weapon used by some of the more nefarious characters found on the dark web. While these specific cables were hand made, and therefore limited the amount that are available (they were being sold by the inventor to other hackers at the recent Defcon conference), we do need to wonder, could these cables be reproduced by shady manufacturers and sold as legit products on our usual eComm platforms? The US certainly doesn’t have an agency sweeping all of the electronic marketplaces to make sure all goods are not being manipulated for use as spy equipment or worse – but maybe we should?
I will be dropping #OMGCables over the next few days of defcon.
I will also have 5g bags of DemonSeed, if that’s your thing.
Details and update here: https://t.co/0vJf68nxMx
— _MG_ (@_MG_) August 9, 2019
This situation definitely sounds like something out of a comic book, and I’m certain to receive many responses blaming me for stoking unwarranted paranoia, but I’m merely bringing up an extreme case based on an actual one. These “weaponized” cables do exist right now, and sadly it’s a sign of the times we live in where nearly everything is corruptible. Sounds like we may need to use the bat-signal.
So what is the average consumer to do? For one, you can start by only buying product from trusted retailers and verified brands. With the influx of cheap imports available the lure of low price is an appealing option when browsing for product. But make no mistake about it, you get what you DON’T pay for. That’s why I recommend finding a brand *Ahem* that is focused on quality testing and certifying their product with third party agencies, like the “made for Apple” program, the USB-IF, etc… And know that every Elixage cable goes through a rigorous testing program – not just to test for quality, but to ensure it authenticity.
Image credit: Motherboard