Hackers Can Set Modern Power Supplies (Including Computers and Phones) on Fire

By B.N. Frank

All wireless aka “smart” devices are vulnerable to hacking which can lead to unwanted data collection, surveillance (see 1, 2, 3, 4), theft, and apparently fires.

From Schneier:

SECURITY: Hacking a Power Supply

[2020.07.21] This hack targets the firmware on modern power supplies. (Yes, power supplies are also computers.)

Normally, when a phone is connected to a power brick with support for fast charging, the phone and the power adapter communicate with each other to determine the proper amount of electricity that can be sent to the phone without damaging the device — the more juice the power adapter can send, the faster it can charge the phone.

However, by hacking the fast charging firmware built into a power adapter, Xuanwu Labs demonstrated that bad actors could potentially manipulate the power brick into sending more electricity than a phone can handle, thereby overheating the phone, melting internal components, or as Xuanwu Labs discovered, setting the device on fire.

Research paper, in Chinese.

As if there aren’t already enough wireless devices overheating, catching fire and exploding WITHOUT being hacked (see 1, 2. 3)

Don’t want to be hacked? Only use a wired Ethernet connection. It’s not that difficult. Another bonus: replacing WiFi with a more secure wired connection will significantly reduce your exposure to harmful sources of Electromagnetic Radiation which can also hurt your kids and even your pets.

Activist Post reports regularly about unsafe technology. For more information, visit our archives and the following websites:

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