‘BadPower’ hack can destroy consumers’ smartphones while charging ─Research

 *‘All products with BadPower problems can be attacked by special hardware

*Consumers urged not to plug basic 5V devices into fast chargers with USB to USB-C cable, neither loan phone charger/power bank to others

Emmanuel Akosile | ConsumerConnect

Researchers at Tencent Security Xuanwu Lab have discovered vulnerability in many popular fast chargers.

Report indicates the Chinese technology firm warns that hackers have found a way to remotely manipulate the charging process of smartphones ─not to steal data, but “to achieve destruction of the physical world through digital means.”

The hack, dubbed “BadPower,” can destroy a user’s smartphone or even potentially set it on fire, reports ConsumerAffairs.

The research team said the attack involves corrupting the firmware in a charging device in such a way that prevents it from agreeing on a set voltage.

This creates the potential to overload a device with more voltage than it can handle.

Tencent Security Xuanwu Lab says “all products with BadPower problems can be attacked by special hardware, and a considerable number of them can also be attacked by ordinary terminals such as mobile phones, tablets, and laptops that support the fast charging protocol.”

In the study, the firm identified 234 rapid chargers on the market and tested 35 of them. Of those 35 charging devices, at least 18 “had BadPower problems,” which released a video demonstrating how the manipulation could be carried out in its report.

The team said the vulnerability could be fixed if affected manufacturers released the appropriate firmware.

Tencent has reported the issue to the China National Vulnerability Database (CNVD) and said it would discuss mitigation techniques with manufacturers.

Its suggestions to fix the problem include hardening firmware to prevent unauthorised modifications and adding overload protection to charged devices.

While the vulnerability exists, the researchers advised users not to plug basic 5v devices into fast chargers with a USB to USB-C cable, and to be wary of loaning your phone charger or power bank to others, stated the report.

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