Def Con 2019: Lightning Cables That Can Hack Your Computer

Joanna Estrada
August 14, 2019

An attacker using the cable could use the access to the computer to fire phishing pages into the victim's peepers or lock a PC then snaffle the password when the user tries to log back in, thereby compromising the system. It has taken several steps to make both hardware and software of its devices secure.

A new report from Vice highlights how an ordinary-looking Lightning cable can hijack your Mac.

A security researcher has revealed he has engineered a Lightning cable replacement that appears to be an innocent Lightning cable, but can offer hackers a way to remotely access your computer. The security researcher says that he can implant the component in any USB cable but "Apple just happens to be the most hard to implant, so it was a good proof of capabilities". This lets the hacker connect to the O.MG cable from just about anywhere in the world.

Once an unsuspecting person plugs it in, extra components inside the cable remotely connect the hacker to the computer.

The cables are so convincing that not even your computer will notice something is amiss when it's connected. This was even demoed by MG at the annual Def Con hacking conference. The cable was made by him and is being sold for $200 each. "Until I, as an attacker, wirelessly take control of the cable", the researcher said to the website.

'This specific Lightning cable allows for cross-platform attack payloads, and the implant I have created is easily adapted to other USB cable types, ' he told TechCrunch. "And these prototypes at Def con were mostly done the same way", he said.

"It's like being able to sit at the keyboard and mouse of the victim but without actually being there", MG said.

The trojan horse device comes equipped with commands and scripts a hacker can run on the victim's machine, and even run commands to "kill" the USB implant to attempt to hide the evidence of the implant's existence. He added that a hacker needs to be around 300 feet from the target user to carry the hack. A stronger antenna can be used to reach further.

The cable has a custom PCB module that replaces the original circuit board available on the Lightning cable to enable wireless connectivity.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

Discuss This Article