E-Cigarettes Can Hurt Your Computer

E-Cigarettes

Yet more evidence that smoking is bad for you: A brand of e-cigarettes manufactured in China, has been found to carry malicious software that can be implanted into a computer when plugged into a USB port for recharging.

E-cigarettes are in actual fact, electronic vaporizers that heat a liquid solution into an aerosol mist that offers the sensation, nicotine and flavorings of tobacco cigarettes, supposedly without its harmful effects, although being a new technology, its risks as a nicotine replacement product are as yet largely uncertain. The heating element can be charged through a computer’s USB port, and this is where the malware was released.

The story, detailed on Reddit, points out that an executive at a “large corporation” found his computer had been infected with malware from an undetermined source. An extensive IT scouring showed his computer’s antivirus and anti-malware protection was fully up-to-date, and it was only after he was questioned about recent changes to his lifestyle that mention of the e-cigarettes was made. They had been purchased on eBay for $5.

A report from The Hacker News quotes Trend Micro security consultant Rik Ferguson as saying, “Production line malware has been around for a few years, infecting photo frames, MP3 players and more.” The report goes on to highlight how in 2008, a photo frame produced by Samsung shipped with malware on the product’s install disc.

Although these incidences are reasonably rare, they highlight a permanent reality that hackers are constantly searching for ways to exploit any electronic device to serve Malware to a poorly protected network, and USB ports become one of those overlooked areas – a simple charging or connection port that for most users has a limited, yet convenient function.

The Hacker News article describes the malware app BadUSB that was recently able to “spread itself by hiding in the firmware meant to control the ways in which USB devices connect to computers.” Rik Ferguson is quoted as suggesting “a very strong case can be made for enterprises disabling USB ports, or at least using device management to allow only authorised devices.

By Steve Prentice

Yuri Sagalov

IT Culture Clash Where Employees Use Multiple Devices To Collaborate

Employees use multiple devices to collaborate It used to be that company IT decision makers could simply dictate the software that business units would use. However, in today’s business the IT culture clash where employees ...
Bigcommerce

Magento 1 Is Nearing Its End – Is It Time To Migrate To BigCommerce?

Time To Migrate To BigCommerce? Nearly three years ago, Magento declared that they would be ending support for their Magento 1 software. All versions of Magento from 1.1 – 1.9 would then work without maintenance, ...
Atman Rathod

How APIs and Machine Learning are Evolving? 

Machine Learning Continues to Make API Development Better  For any developer, API or Application Programming Interfaces come as the helpful components to add valuable features and functionalities with the app they develop. API in many ...
Martin Mendelsohn

Who Should Protect Our Data?

Who Should Protect Our Data in The Cloud? You would think that cloud service providers are safe havens for your personal data – they all have a ‘security’ component embedded into their offerings and claim ...
Thomas Franklin

Future of Stock Markets : Raising Capital Through ICO is 10x cheaper and 20x easier

Future of Stock Markets: Raising Capital Through ICO How blockchain will replace the stock markets as we know them today. Welcome to the future. It’s a beautiful Monday morning of 5th June, 2023. Jane wants ...
Anita Raj

Post-COVID: What decisions are leaders taking about digital transformation in 2021?

Digital transformation in 2021 If organizations were once only talking about digital transformation (DX), in 2020, it was all about translating that talk into some real action. When the pandemic hit and businesses were disrupted, ...