Bogus iPhone Chargers Infect Your Device with Malware

Bogus iPhone Chargers Infect Your Device with Malware

Be careful where and what you use to charge your very trusting iPhone because your device could get infected with malicious malware!

Bogus iPhone Chargers Infect Your Device with MalwareResearchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have created fake iPhone chargers, dubbed “Mactans,” that not only “juices up” your iPhone, but installs custom, malicious applications. Small computers are housed inside these bogus chargers, and your unsuspecting and obedient iPhone doesn’t discriminate as it treats these computers just like any other computer by responding to USB commands. If your iPhone is unlocked while attached to the USB host, the host is in control of your smartphone.

So, how did these researchers do it?

Well, it sounds really simple. They just used the Mactan to install an app package onto an iPhone.

Now, here’s where it gets a bit complicated!

This app package then takes advantage of an Apple-devised system that permits developers to deploy applications to their own devices for testing purposes. This requires an Apple-generated provisioning profile to be installed over USB to identify a specific phone and application, allowing the application to run on the named device.

The malicious charger interrogates your iPhone because it wants to get your phone’s UDID, a unique ID number that identifies your particular iPhone. This vengeful charger then sends your phone’s specific UDID to Apple’s Web page which generates provisioning profiles. These profiles are then deployed to your iPhone, and the vicious malware is identified by the profile.

Once this is done, what can happen?

Researchers gave a Facebook example in which a malicious Facebook app replaced a real app with a trojaned version. This enabled the malware to take screenshots of the iPhone wherever passwords were being entered.

This type of attack does have limitations, though, including:

  • The iPhone’s screen must be unlocked;
  • Generating a provisioning profile requires the attacker to have a valid developer account;
  • A valid developer account can only generate profiles for 100 different phones; and
  • There’s no facility to remove the UDID that associated with the developer’s account.

What has Apple done in response to this discovery?

Bogus iPhone Chargers Infect Your Device with MalwareThey have made the iPhone a little less trusting. iOS 7 will ask users if they want to trust the currently connected device, indicating that it could be a Mactan-like device.

Note: I'd be sure NOT to use those "free" charging stations in airports or any other location, for that matter. I'm sure hackers will soon be swarming to them...especially after this discovery.


About the Author

Ginger Hill is Group Social Media Manager.


  • Maximizing Your Security Budget This Year

    The Importance of Proactive Security Measures: 4 Stories of Regret

    We all want to believe that crime won’t happen to us. So, some business owners hope for the best and put proactive security measures on the back burner, because other things like growth, attracting new customers, and meeting deadlines all seem more pressing. Read Now

  • 91 Percent of Security Leaders Believe AI Set to Outpace Security Teams

    Bugcrowd recently released its “Inside the Mind of a CISO” report, which surveyed hundreds of security leaders around the globe to uncover their perception on AI threats, their top priorities and evolving roles, and common myths directed towards the CISO. Among the findings, 1 in 3 respondents (33%) believed that at least half of companies are willing to sacrifice their customers’ long-term privacy or security to save money. Read Now

  • Milestone Announces Merger With Arcules

    Global video technology company Milestone Systems is pleased to announce that effective July 1, 2024, it will merge with the cloud-based video surveillance solutions provider, Arcules. Read Now

  • Organizations Struggle with Outdated Security Approaches, While Online Threats Increase

    Cloudflare Inc, recently published its State of Application Security 2024 Report. Findings from this year's report reveal that security teams are struggling to keep pace with the risks posed by organizations’ dependency on modern applications—the technology that underpins all of today’s most used sites. The report underscores that the volume of threats stemming from issues in the software supply chain, increasing number of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and malicious bots, often exceed the resources of dedicated application security teams. Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity


New Products

  • Automatic Systems V07

    Automatic Systems V07

    Automatic Systems, an industry-leading manufacturer of pedestrian and vehicle secure entrance control access systems, is pleased to announce the release of its groundbreaking V07 software. The V07 software update is designed specifically to address cybersecurity concerns and will ensure the integrity and confidentiality of Automatic Systems applications. With the new V07 software, updates will be delivered by means of an encrypted file. 3

  • ResponderLink


    Shooter Detection Systems (SDS), an company and a global leader in gunshot detection solutions, has introduced ResponderLink, a groundbreaking new 911 notification service for gunshot events. ResponderLink completes the circle from detection to 911 notification to first responder awareness, giving law enforcement enhanced situational intelligence they urgently need to save lives. Integrating SDS’s proven gunshot detection system with Noonlight’s SendPolice platform, ResponderLink is the first solution to automatically deliver real-time gunshot detection data to 911 call centers and first responders. When shots are detected, the 911 dispatching center, also known as the Public Safety Answering Point or PSAP, is contacted based on the gunfire location, enabling faster initiation of life-saving emergency protocols. 3

  • Mobile Safe Shield

    Mobile Safe Shield

    SafeWood Designs, Inc., a manufacturer of patented bullet resistant products, is excited to announce the launch of the Mobile Safe Shield. The Mobile Safe Shield is a moveable bullet resistant shield that provides protection in the event of an assailant and supplies cover in the event of an active shooter. With a heavy-duty steel frame, quality castor wheels, and bullet resistant core, the Mobile Safe Shield is a perfect addition to any guard station, security desks, courthouses, police stations, schools, office spaces and more. The Mobile Safe Shield is incredibly customizable. Bullet resistant materials are available in UL 752 Levels 1 through 8 and include glass, white board, tack board, veneer, and plastic laminate. Flexibility in bullet resistant materials allows for the Mobile Safe Shield to blend more with current interior décor for a seamless design aesthetic. Optional custom paint colors are also available for the steel frame. 3