USB Single Serve Coffee-Cup Warmer Could Be Hacked
Gizmodo has a really interesting take on whether the devices plugged into your computer aren't perfect for hackers that switch them out locally. We're pretty sure this would be difficult to do with our precious USB Coffee-Cup warmer (we know the coffee stains on it intimately), but you never know. What's the problem? The problem stems from a shortcoming in the way the Universal Serial Bus (USB) works. This allows almost all USB-connected devices, such as mice and printers, to be turned into tools for data theft, says a team that has exploited the flaw.
Welcome to the murky world of the "hardware trojan". The trio found they could exploit a weakness in USB's plug-and-play functionality. The USB protocol trusts any device being plugged in to report its identity correctly. But find out the make and model of a target user's keyboard, say, swap it with a compromised device that reports the same information - and that doesn't even have to be a keyboard - and the computer won't realize.
From the article: "You could mount a hardware trojan attack with a USB coffee-Cup warmer." Noooo! We're just going to keep enjoying our USB Coffee Cup Warmer and hope no one switches it for a comprised one.
Via Gizmodo at USB Coffee-Cup Warmer
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Posted by Jay Brewer at February 8, 2011 7:23 AM