Researchers in Ontario have designed a “hardware trojan” that hijacked computers to steal and send data, New Scientist reports. Most computers automatically trust USB peripherals, and hackers could use the technique to get your sensitive information.
“This work opens many cans of worms,” Vasilios Katos, a Greek computer scientist, told the magazine. “A USB device cannot now be trusted – it may have hidden processing capabilities.”
The military’s cyber community has taken notice. The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association’s journal makes mention of the new danger and warns that shadowy new threats are ever-evolving.
“Even with the Army banning the use of USB devices until protections and protocols are in place, our sensitive data is always at risk,” the recent item reads.
It offers the reassurance that the IT pros will figure out a way to safeguard against these types of intrusions, but suggests computer users employ “a little well-placed paranoia.” Inspect your equipment and make sure your computer is under your control in non-secure locations.
People will look at you like you’re crazy, but oh well.[via New Scientist, AFCEA Signal Online]