As a new program demonstrates, USB sticks are no longer as safe as we thought they were.
Let’s think back to just a few short moments ago, to the time before you clicked on the link to this article, a more peaceful time where we all rather naïvely believed that our USB sticks were safe from the scourge of computer viruses. Many of us use USB sticks every single day, from transferring music or movies (legally obtained, I would think) or beautifully lit photos of precious memories between computers to simply getting some mundane work file off your computer because your boss ‘doesn’t trust email’ and will tell you as much as he sits at his desk, tin foil hat and all. But the point is, this is big and it’s scary and USB malware can effect every single one of us.
The discovery was made Karsten Nohl and Jakob Lell who put together some ‘proof of concept’ malware to demonstrate the idea that yes, not only can malware lurk on our USBb sticks undetected, it can also do some serious damage before it’s too late for us to even think about installing McAfee protection. Nohl and Lell say that not only can it take over your entire computer, this type of malware can hijack your web browser’s DNS settings and if it makes its way onto a connected mobile device then that’s free game for hacking too.
As if the concern for our computers and mobile devices wasn’t enough, the pair even say that it’s not just USB sticks (or thumb-drives, depending on what you like to call them) that can put our gadgets at risk either, as anything that connects to our technology via USB could be hacked. Even things like USB keyboards can be hacked which is peculiar, odd and most of all, it’s terrifying. Lell and Nohl also add that reformatting the USB device in question won’t rid it of any secret malware but that the best option is to avoid USBs altogether if they’ve come into contact with anyone else’s computer.
Be social! Follow Walyou on Facebook and Twitter, and read more related stories, NES Style Plush USB Controller: It Actually Works!, New USB Standard Could be on Your Next Phone