Save Your Devices From This Lightning Cable

Mike Grover is the name who created this dangerous lightning cable that can easily hack your computer.

Called the O.MG cables, these cables are fitted with a wireless access point inside their USB connector. This is basically a fake iPhone lightning charging cable that doesn’t just charge smartphones; but also hijacks computers for attackers.

The infamous O.MG cables!

Mike Grover, a security researcher who reportedly works for Verizon Media and goes by the name “MG” online, has developed modified Lightning cables that can hack someone’s computer; as first reported by Motherboard. MG sold a handful of the “O.MG cables” at the security conference Def Con; and is working with online security products store Hak5 to sell a version of the Lightning-lookalike cable for around $100, he hopes.

MG tells The Verge that his cables look and function like the standard Lightning cable you get with your iPhone. But MG hid software and hardware, including a wireless access point, inside its USB connector. When the cable is plugged into a computer, it can be triggered remotely to attempt to steal a user’s login credentials or install malicious software.

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What will this lightning cable do?

Once plugged into a computer, the O.MG cables can be triggered to let a hacker remotely connect to your device. “It looks like a legitimate cable and works just like one. Not even your computer will notice a difference. Until I, as an attacker, wirelessly take control of the cable,” Grover told Motherboard.

The O.MG is a perfect replica of an original iPhone lightning charger, even featuring the correct packaging pieces that a real one comes with.

Cables like the O.MG cable have existed for over a decade, according to MG. “A lot of these capabilities, a lot of the attack surface, is really nothing new,” he says. The NSA also reportedly made a cable that, from what I can tell, is pretty similar — it was called COTTONMOUTH and could be plugged into someone’s computer to wirelessly send software to it.

Grover made the cables in his kitchen by hand, modifying real Apple cables, and is now selling them for $200 each. Motherboard asked about the distance required for the hack to work.

MG is apparently hoping to produce these cables as a legitimate security tool, which is something that the company Hak5 is also interested in.

Though MG intends for the cable to be used by security researchers, it’s pretty important to note that he’s not just selling to them. Anyone could theoretically buy it — including a bad actor — which seems risky. But maybe that’s the point here; perhaps there needs to be a real threat for us to take it seriously. MG says he hopes that by documenting his work and selling the cable at a store where security researchers already shop, those researchers will think to defend against these malicious USB cables ahead of potential attacks.

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Navaneetha Suresh

Navaneetha Suresh

Navaneetha, commonly known as "nav", loves to read, play badminton, play the keyboard and sing but when she's not doing any of those, she loves to write. What started as a high school hobby to write is now her ongoing passion.

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