This story is definitely going to force us to be careful with what we use to charge our phones. The Black Hat security conference is taking place next month, and three researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology plan to show off a proof-of-concept charger that can be used to invisibly install malware on a device running the latest version of iOS.
Currently, these researchers aren’t sharing the details of their work, but a description of their talk posted to the conference website describes the results of the experiment as “alarming”. This malicious charger is being called “Mactans”. This is to believed to be in refernce to the scientific name of the Black Widow spider, and is built around an open-source single-board computer known as a BeagleBoard, sold by Texas Instruments for about $45.
These researchers from Georgia Tech are not the first to hack iOS devices via their USB connections, but it certainly have iOS users scared to use chargers that are not their own. I’d still expect Apple to patch the exploit that these researchers are using to infect iOS devices with malware. Like Apple normally does with Jailbreaks.