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Why You Should Never Borrow Someone Else’s Charging Cable

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Protect your charging cables like you protect your passwords, say cybersecurity experts.

We’ve all been there. Your smartphone or tablet is low on power and you’ve left your charging cable at home. There’s no harm in borrowing one from a fellow passenger in the airport departure lounge or from your hotel’s front desk clerk, right?

In 2019, that would be a huge mistake, say cybersecurity experts.

“There are certain things in life that you just don’t borrow,” says Charles Henderson, Global Managing Partner and Head of X-Force at IBM Security. “If you were on a trip and realized you forgot to pack underwear, you wouldn’t ask all your co-travelers if you could borrow their underwear. You’d go to a store and buy new underwear.”

Henderson runs a team of hackers that clients hire to break into their computer systems in order to expose vulnerabilities. Since cyberhackers have figured out how to implant charging cables with that can remotely hijack devices and computers, his team sometimes uses a trick to teach clients to be less trusting of third-party charging cables. “We might send somebody a swag iPhone cable in the mail. Maybe we have it branded as some something innocuous, like a vendor or a partner that they have listed on their website. We send off the cable and see if the person plugs it in,” he says.

Last week, at the annual DEF CON Hacking Conference in Las Vegas — “hacker summer camp,” says Henderson — a hacker who goes by “MG” demonstrated an iPhone lightning cable that he had modified. After using the cable to connect an iPod to a Mac computer, MG remotely accessed the cable’s IP address and took control of the Mac, as Vice reported in play-by-play fashion .

MG noted that he could later remotely “kill” the implanted malware and wipe out all evidence of its existence. The enterprising hacker had a stash of so-called O.MG cables that he was selling for $200 apiece.

Malicious charging cables aren’t a widespread threat at this time, says Henderson, “Mainly because this kind of attack doesn’t scale real well, so if you saw it, it would be a very targeted attack.”

“But just because we haven’t yet seen a widespread attack doesn’t mean we won’t see it, because it certainly does work,” says Henderson. “The is really small and really cheap. It can get so small that it looks like an ordinary cable but has the capability and the intelligence to plant malware on its victim. These things are only going to get cheaper to produce and it’s not something your average consumer is going to be tracking to know when it becomes viable on a mass scale.”

For the moment, Henderson says, a bigger threat than malicious charging cables is USB charging stations you see in public places like airports. “We’ve seen a couple of instances where people modified charging stations. I’m not talking about an electrical outlet, I’m talking about when there’s a USB port on a charging station.”

“Being careful about what you plug into your devices is just good tech hygiene,” says Henderson. “Think of it in the same way that you think about opening mail attachments or sharing passwords. In a computing context, sharing cables is like sharing your password, because that’s the level of access you’re crucially conveying with these types of technology.”

Many travelers know that, in a pinch, the hotel front desk will often have a drawer of charging cables that were left behind by guests.

Don’t be tempted, says Henderson. “If the front desk had a drawerful of underwear, would you wear those?”

Culled from FORBES

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Governance

#EndSars: Abia State Govt Approves Inauguration Of Eric Ikwuagwu, Ariwa Zuby, Others Into Judicial Panel Of Inquiry

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Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has approved the inauguration of a Judicial Panel of Inquiry to investigate allegations of extra-judicial killings and brutality by security agents in the state.

The composition of the panel is as follows:

  1. Retired Justice S N Imo – Chairman
  2. Nwakanma John
  3. Daniel Chinagozi
  4. Ariwa Zuby
  5. Eric Ikwuagwu
  6. Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice (Secretary)
  7. Bishop Sunday Onuoha
  8. Comrade John Emejor
  9. Comrade Nnanna Nwafor
  10. Mrs Doris Ogala

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EFCC Arraigns Man Over Dud Cheques

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Kaduna Zonal Office, on October 13, 2020 arraigned one Christopher Nduka before Justice Darius Khobo of the Kaduna State High Court, sitting in Kaduna on a two count charge bordering on issuance of dud cheque to the tune of N397,500 (Three Hundred and Ninety Seven Thousand, Five Hundred Naira) only.

Christopher troubles started when he allegedly issued two cheques in the sums of N265, 000 (Two Hundred and Sixty Five Thousand, naira) and N132, 500(One Hundred and Thirty Two Thousand, Five hundred naira) respectively, to one Santos Abu Attah as payment for the purchase of 150 bags of cement.

But the cheques were returned unpaid due to insufficient funds in the account.

Count one reads: “that you Christopher Nduka ‘M’ of No 4 Calabar Street by Kano Road, Kaduna, on or about the 28th December, 2019 in Kaduna, within the Judicial Division of this Honourable Court, did obtain credit of N265, 000 (Two Hundred and Sixty Five Thousand, Naira) only to yourself from Santos Abu Attah for the supply of 100 bags of cement and in settlement of the debt, you issued a Zenith Bank Plc cheque with numbers 00889329 dated 3rd January, 2020 in the sum of N265, 000 (Two Hundred and Sixty Five Thousand, naira) only which when presented within the statutory period of three months was dishonoured on the ground that, there was no sufficient fund standing to the credit of the account upon which the cheque was drawn; and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1)(b) of the Dishonoured Cheques (Offences) Act, Cap D11, Laws of the Federation, 2004 and punishable under Section 1(1)(b)(i) of the same Act”.

Count two reads: “that you Christopher Nduka ‘M’ of No 4 Calabar Street by Kano Road, Kaduna, on or about the 29th December, 2019 in Kaduna, within the Judicial Division of this Honourable Court, did obtain credit of N132, 500(One Hundred and Thirty Two Thousand, Five Hundred Naira) only to yourself from Santos Abu Attah for the supply of 50 bags of cement and in settlement of the debt, you issued a Zenith Bank Plc cheque with numbers 00889330 dated 3rd January, 2020 in the sum of N132, 500(One Hundred and Thirty Two Thousand, Five Hundred Naira) only which when presented within the statutory period of three months was dishonoured on the ground that, there was no sufficient fund standing to the credit of the account upon which the cheque was drawn; and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1)(b) of the Dishonoured Cheques (Offences) Act, Cap D11, Laws of the Federation, 2004 and punishable under Section 1(1)(b)(i) of the same Act”.

When the charges were read to the defendant he pleaded “not guilty”, prompting the prosecuting counsel, Y.J.Matiyak to ask the Court to fix a date for commencement of trial while the defendant is remanded in Correctional Services custody.
However, defence counsel, Simon Nnadi prayed the Court to grant his client bail.

Justice Khobo adjourned the case to October 15, 2020 for ruling on the bail application while ordering that the defendant be remanded in Nigerian Correctional Service’s custody.

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