How Charging Your Mobile Phone Can Get You Hacked, According to Study [Video]By Audri Taylors, UniversityHerald Reporter
There are known risks that come with charging a mobile phone using a USB cord, and experts have warned people about this. However, new research suggests that even without cable wire, hackers have found a way to gain access to a user's phone and check the website they have visited.
A team of researchers at Kaspersky Lab claim that plugging a smartphone into a computer to get it charged can pave the way to have data exchanged between the two devices, Mirror reported. The information can include the phone's name, the manufacturer, the serial number, the device type and other pertinent information.
However, a recent study conducted by the New York Institute of Technology suggests that even without using data wires, people can still get hacked, Science Daily reported. According to the research, what the hackers use is a "side channel" which can look into the history of websites that the user has visited, and have warned people about a "malicious charging station" which makes use of the device's power consumption to obtain sensitive and private information.
Paolo Gasti (assistant professor, NYIT) explained that the so-called side-channels attacks were only made possible because webpages have a signature that reflects the way they load and consume energy. And then, it is the power traces which remained that serve as signatures and the ones that lead hackers to the sites that have been visited by the user.
Gasti explained that this research is significant because he said that there is so much more than can possibly be stolen by the hackers using side channel, apart from browsing history and activity. He said that people who are using public USB charging stations need to be aware of the security risks, so might as well not to browse the internet while they are charging.