Skip to main content

New Charging Cables Could Hack Your Devices

By August 23, 2019May 16th, 2022Cybersecurity

A security researcher known as “_MG_” on Twitter has invented a modified Apple Lightning cable that could allow a hacker to remotely access any Mac computer using them.  He demonstrated his new invention, dubbed the “OM.G Cable” at the Def Con hacking conference in Las Vegas recently. The Lightning Cable is used by Apple owners to charge their devices and sync data.

The OM.G cable is indistinguishable from a legitimate Lightning Cable. According to tests conducted by Motherboard, it allows a hacker to type in the IP address of the fake cable on his own device and gain access to a variety of tools on the victim’s computer or phone, via a simple menu-driven system.

The cable comes with a wireless implant that allows the hack to occur.  Once it’s plugged into the victim’s device, it creates a Wi-Fi hotspot that allows it to wirelessly transmit malicious payloads, scripts, and commands on the victim’s device. Even worse, it has an impressive range of 300 feet.

In an interview with Motherboard, MG had this to say about his invention: “It looks like a legitimate cable and works just like one.  Not even your computer will notice a difference – until I, as an attacker, wirelessly take control of the cable.”

MG sold his home brew cables to Def Con attendees for $200 each, so there are a small number of these devices in the wild now, and the number is growing steadily.  For their part, Apple has responded to the event by advising their customers to avoid buying cables from untrusted vendors and to only use the cable contained in your iPhone box.

They also explained how to spot a counterfeit cable, as follows:

“To identify counterfeit or uncertified cables and accessories, look carefully at the accessory’s packaging and at the accessory itself.  Certified third-party accessories have the MFi badge on their packaging.  An Apple Lightning to USB cable has ‘Designed by Apple in California,” and either ‘Assembled in China,’ or ‘Assembled in Vietnam’ or ‘Industria Brasilerira’ on the cable about seven inches from the USB connector.”

It’s good information and something to keep a close watch on.  This kind of hack is very hard to counter.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.