Kaspersky scares us into not charging our smartphones ever again
Digital security company Kaspersky has warned us about many threats. Valid ones, too. Kinda not now. It has posted the 95 Theses against the Church of Charging.
First, it attacks third-party chargers. It’s true that they’ve been the cause of explosions, injury and death, especially ones made with the idea of putting 220 volts through a USB port. But even with the charger out of the box, we’ve seen how badly the phones can handle that juice — though Kaspersky doesn’t mention those incidents.
And that’s just plugging into the grid. The security firm’s more concerned about the power you get from connecting to a motherboard.
Many Android phones on KitKat or older connect to companion devices via Media Transfer Protocol by default — the protocol opens up the phone’s file directory to the host. It doesn’t matter if the port you’re putting it into is a computer or one of those fancy wall outlets.
For all of you that set your connection option to “Charge Only” by default, check this out: the way that a phone communicates with the host device to connect to it is by sending a package of data containing the device name, vendor, serial number and a whole bunch of other data — in some cases, more than 100kB of it.
That can be enough for an industrious little devil to siphon information like your phone number or break into your phone for extensive data theft. Worse yet, there’s the possibility that the hacker can install ransomware, trojans and other little death traps for your phone in little time at all.
The final paragraph of the post prescribes an extreme course of action.
To sum up: Remember that you can never tell what is on the other side of a normal-looking USB port. A USB port can be a system that gathers data about the devices that are connected to it, a flawed power source, a powerful capacitor, or a computer that installs a backdoor on your device. You simply cannot know before you plug in your device — so don’t.
Apparently, this applies to even the USB ports that you know and trust.
Wireless charging all the way, right? Well, if you can transfer energy to your phone, it probably has the capacity to give you the electric chair treatment.
So never, ever charge your phone. Ever.