The OMG Lightning cable contains a wireless implant that can be accessed from an attacker in the vicinity.
Borrowing smartphone cables come with their own dos and don’ts. Now its dangers have escalated to over level 9000 as recent reports have just revealed that an adapted iPhone Lightning cable that can enable hacking of connected devices has gone on sale. The cable called OMG Cable which for the most part looks and acts like an everyday Apple cable was demonstrated to amazing effect at DefCon in August. This OMG cable is now being prepared for mass production.
Apart from performing menial tasks such as iPhone charging, opening and syncing with iTunes, the usual dialogue box appears — the OMG Cable also plays home to a nifty wireless implant that can be accessed from an attacker in its vicinity. As per a report by Forbes, “The transparency of this project is interesting—a capability normally kept behind closed doors within security agencies or on the dark web. And, as such, this does provide a powerful warning to users as to the risk of using cables or accessories from anything but fully trusted sources.”
The OMG Cable will go up for sale on Hak5 and will be priced at USD 100. The website describes the cable as “a highly covert malicious USB cable—as soon as the cable is plugged in, it can be controlled through the wireless network interface that lives inside the cable.” Mike Grover, the cable’s developer claimed that the cable could be accessed remotely up to 300 feet away and if he configured it “o act as a client to a nearby wireless network,” the distance would become unlimited.
As per Hak5, the cable “allows new payloads to be created, saved, and transmitted entirely remotely. The cable is built with Red Teams in mind with features like additional boot payloads, no USB enumeration until payload execution, and the ability to forensically erase the firmware, which causes the cable to fall entirely back to an innocuous state. And these are just the features that have been revealed so far.”
While the OMG cable is marketed for the good guys, it also comes with frightening implications. Cables provided as corporate gifts, provided by hotels or lounges, airlines, swapped out the possibilities are endless.
“The USB Police are gonna get me,” MG joked on Twitter, before warning that “Apple already makes this the hardest to do. They are the only ones doing a lot of it. Other types of cables are quite a bit easier to pull off.”