One of the biggest problems with our electronic devices is that they need something to power the electronics. Power. That means battery life is a big issue. As is finding places to recharge when your battery goes kaput.
So when I encountered this ATM-like portable pawn shop contraption at the mall the other day, the one that gives you cash for your old cellphone, I noticed a lot of wires coming out of it that ended on a little platform. It was, I found out, a community charging station.
Offering, paradoxically, a "free charge."
Wow, I thought, how nice. These people are giving away power free to help others charge their dead phones. I wondered how much that cost the contraption company over the course of a year.
Then I remembered the computer/internet modern maxim. If it's free, you're not the customer, you're the product. When my suspicious mind saw the charging devices were mostly USB-type thingies, I wondered if those USBs could be used to hack into a phone.
The answer. Yes. I just read an article about Georgia Tech students who proved they could hack into an iPhone using a malicious USB charger attack. When the person logs into his phone after charging through the malicious USB, the attack commences and all sorts of nefarious things happen. A Trojan horse in a cellphone charger. Charger indeed.
Now not only do you have to be careful about using community chargers, you have to be sure no one switches out your own charger you leave lying around the dorm commons. Or your office or wherever.
And be careful who you order your replacement chargers online from too.
Maybe not a good idea to respond to the "Free Chargers" at NSA.com ad on your Facebook page.
America, ya gotta love it.