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USB devices can be used by hackers: researcher

They can load malicious software onto chips in keyboard, thumb-drive

Published Sun, Aug 3, 2014 · 10:00 PM
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[BOSTON] USB devices such as keyboards, thumb-drives and mice can be used to hack into personal computers in a potential new class of attacks that evade all known security protections, a top computer researcher has revealed.

Karsten Nohl, chief scientist with Berlin's SR Labs, noted that hackers could load malicious software onto tiny, low-cost computer chips that control functions of USB devices but which have no built-in shields against tampering with their code.

"You cannot tell where the virus came from. It is almost like a magic trick," said Mr Nohl, whose research firm is known for uncovering major flaws in mobile phone technology.

The finding shows that bugs in software used to run tiny electronics components that are invisible to the average computer user can be extremely dangerous when hackers figure out how to exploit them. Security researchers have incr…

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