Amid all the constant noise of data breaches and the latest super-dangerous strain of malware, every so often a surprising security threat rears its head – like the possibility of your monitor getting hacked – and the latest such unexpected development is the spectre of e-cigarettes being used to hack your PC.
Yes, it sounds terribly unlikely that your vaping pipe could be a potential route to compromise your computer, but many e-cigs can be plugged into a device’s USB port to charge, and therein lies the danger.
As Info Security spotted, security expert Ross Bevington discovered that when plugged in, an e-cigarette can trick a computer into thinking that it’s a peripheral such as a keyboard, and can subsequently deliver a malware payload. Or it could be used to spy on the user’s online traffic on the victim's machine.
- In that case, keep your e-cigs a safe distance from your Surface Book
Thanks for the memory
All manner of nasty things could be possible, basically, although the good news is that e-cigs only have tiny amounts of on-board memory, and certainly not enough to fit a piece of malware inside.
However, malicious parties can work around this by writing tiny slivers of code that will fit in the internal memory, designed to trigger the download of a larger piece of malware from the web.
So, while your own vaping pipe may not present any imminent risk, unless someone else has had access to it for a period of time – because it has to be specially modified by the attacker to carry out these hacking duties – you certainly might want to think twice about letting any old e-cigarette get plugged into your computer.
Doing so could be a very risky business, although of course, the same is true of any unknown device getting hooked up to your USB port.
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