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Surprising Science

Malware That Can Compromise Any USB Device is Now on the Loose

The malware — called BadUSB — doesn’t attack devices’ memories, but rather takes advantage of a fundamental structural flaw in how they operate. Everything from USB keyboards to iPad chargers are susceptible.

Remember a few months ago when we talked about how USB had been irreparably compromised? Well, according to Wired’s Andy Greenberg, the BadUSB malware capable of corrupting any USB gadget is now on the loose, released by security researchers who helped to develop it. The hope now is that having BadUSB on the loose will now force tech developers to come up with a solution.

If you’re not familiar with earlier incarnations of this story, over the past year a group of researchers at SR Labs discovered an intrinsic flaw in USB design and developed malware to exploit it. The flaw applies to every single USB device: iPhone chargers, wireless keyboards, thumbdrives, external hard drives, etc. Basically — if it connects via a USB drive, it’s susceptible to malware that can eventually take control of your systems. Karsten Nohl, one of the researchers who developed BadUSB (though not the person to have released it), calls the malware “unpatchable,” though that’s stopping others from trying to find a cure.

Read Greenberg’s piece (linked below) to learn more about how BadUSB works and what tech professionals are doing about it.

Read more at Wired

Photo credit: Marynchenko Oleksandr / Shutterstock


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