Nigeria: Borrowing Chargers Can Lead to Your Phone Being Hacked

18 September 2019

Cybersecurity experts have advised the general public to stop borrowing smartphone chargers from others, Forbes reports.

It is common practice for people to borrow phone chargers from others when they either misplace or forget theirs at home, never minding the consequences of such acts.

At the annual DEF CON Hacking Conference in Las Vegas, Charles Henderson, Global Managing Partner and Head of X-Force Red at IBM Security, advised against such practice

"Being careful about what you plug into your devices is just good tech hygiene," says Mr Henderson.

He narrated how he set up a team of hackers to try and deter clients from trusting third party chargers.

According to Mr Henderson, cyberhackers have learnt the skill of implanting malwares on charging cables.

At the conference, a certain hacker, MG, demonstrated how modified charging cables work.

When connected to a device, the hacker remotely gains access and takes over the device. The hacker could also delete any trace of evidence from the system.

Mr Henderson further explained this sort of hack is yet to become a global problem "but attention should be paid most especially when the tech is cheap and really small".

He also advised against charging devices with public USB ports especially at the airports, train stations and other public outlets.

Mr Henderson said with such technology in play, sharing cables was equivalent to sharing your passwords.

"If you were on a trip and realised you forgot to pack underwear, you wouldn't ask all your co-travelers if you could borrow their underwear. You'd go to a store and buy new underwear," Mr Henderson cited a possible situation he likened to sharing cables.

PREMIUM TIMES spoke to a few Nigerians who marveled at the revelation as they shared their opinions.

Akin Oyewobi, a digital strategist, said he was concerned about regulations on such techs especially when places like the airports should be safe.

Kevin Muda, a business analyst, expressed shock saying he would stop borrowing chargers with this new information.

He said considering the amount of financial data saved on devices, he would advise the public to be careful.

A tech analyst, Collins Orosanye, also spoke with PREMIUM TIMES.

He said such technology "has not arrived Nigeria yet but still does not mean it cannot sneak in on us".

He advised Nigerians to be careful considering it had a function that could remotely take control of the device.

"The best precaution is to always use original chargers," he said.

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