Any USB Peripheral is a Potential Security Threat

The USB ports on a computer present a security risk. Not only are storage devices able to plug in and interface with the hardware, but also coffee cup warmers, fans, and even mini-vacuums.

A team of computer engineers from Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario exploited a weakness in the USB plug-and-play functionality. What the team did was create a fake USB device that reported itself as something that computer already recognized.

For example, if the computer already paired itself with a USB camera, a hacker could spoof the same identity on another device.

As a proof of concept, the team designed a USB keyboard that contained a circuit that stole data from the hard drive and transmitted it by flashing an LED in a morse code-like fashion, as well as through sounds output by the sound card. While such methods are hugely inefficient and likely ineffective, it was just a proof of concept of the vulnerability.

Even though virus scanning software may check USB storage for malware, secretly planted trojans inside USB peripherals will likely be missed.

"We've shown any USB device could contain a hardware trojan," said Sylvain Leblanc, one of the engineers. "You could mount a hardware trojan attack with a USB coffee-cup warmer."

(source: New Scientist.)

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  • cmcghee358
    I guess my computer can get herpes from the USB stripper pole now? Anyone got a USB condom?
    27
  • azconnie
    cmcghee358I guess my computer can get herpes from the USB stripper pole now? Anyone got a USB condom?

    Dose this count?

    http://www.tomsguide.com/us/Ben-Marsh-Gaming-Mario-Tetris-sex,news-7394.html
    11
  • Other Comments
  • cmcghee358
    I guess my computer can get herpes from the USB stripper pole now? Anyone got a USB condom?
    27
  • icemunk
    Stupid.
    -5
  • Anonymous
    Never saw the point of USB coffee cup Warmers, my EX-Boss had one though, placed in front of his keyboard, missed one day and ended up drowning his KB!
    5