We all know what cables are and what they’re used for. But do you know how they can get remote access to your devices? It’s a bit more complicated than just plugging them in…or is it? We dive into OMG cables and discuss how these deceptively dangerous cables can gain access to your devices and cause security headaches for you down the road.
USB cables are a valuable tool to connect your phone to your computer to access your phone’s data on your computer. They’re also used to charge your devices. Most people connect their USB cables to their computers without thinking twice. In fact, more people just buy replacements without even thinking. Even worse, sometimes we just find a random cable and assume everything is fine. However, you need to be very careful while connecting just any random USB cable with your computer from now on. Here’s why…
A Little History Lesson On The OMG Cable
A security researcher known as “MG” launched a cable called an “OMG cable,” which can access your data remotely when connected to your computer. This cable hacks iPhones, iPads, Samsung tablets, Android devices, and computers to give third-party users remote access to all of the sensitive data stored on your device. The OMG cable looks exactly like any other USB cable, but when you plug it into your computer or phone, it lets a potential hacker control your data remotely. For lack of a better term, it’s a rather clever invention. Deceptive with undertones of malintent? Sure.
Potential hackers use this harmful cable to access your data through a smartphone app. It does not even let your computer or smartphone device even recognize that a potential attacker has taken remote access to your computer through OMG cable.
What Is An OMG Cable?
The OMG cable is a new version of a hacking puppet that is hardly different from the genuine cable authorized by Samsung, Android, or Apple. Like any other cable, this cable supports power and is a source of transferring data from your phone to another computer. Essentially, it works and functions the exact same. However, this cable hacks iPhones and Android devices and remotely accesses the data.
It was first introduced in 2019 by MG, a security researcher. He presented this hacking apparatus at a hacker panel and manufactured it in large volumes. Multiple other versions of this malicious OMG cable have been introduced, ranging from lightning cables to USB-A and USB-C used by Samsung, Android, Apple, and other devices.
After the launch of OMG cable, the security researcher presented another hacking tool known as “OMG Keylogger Cable”, which acts as a secret keylogger hacking tool. Hackers use this cable to replace detachable keyboards cables and steal login details and other sensitive information by collecting keystrokes.
TRENDING: Stop Your Phone From Tracking You
Keylogger Cable 101
A keylogger cable is a device that can be used to secretly record keystrokes. The keylogger cable is inserted for example between a keyboard and the computer. It then records every keystroke that is typed into the keyboard. Keyloggers are often used by criminals in order to steal sensitive information, such as passwords or credit card numbers. However, they can also be used for legitimate purposes, such as monitoring employees or children. I don’t recommend that because there are other more efficient methods out there to monitor employees and children. Keylogger cables are relatively inexpensive and easy to use, making them a popular choice for both criminals and your normal, law-abiding citizens alike.
How Can An OMG Cable Gain Remote Access?
The OMG cable is a typical cable consisting of two connectors and a set of wires protected through insulation. However, one of the connectors of this malicious cable hides a memory chip and Wi-Fi transmitter. The Wi-Fi transmitter is also similar to those present in iPhones, Androids, Samsungs, or other Wi-Fi-enabled gadgets.
When you connect this OMG cable with your device (and it doesn’t matter if it’s mobile or tablet or laptop), the cable creates a Wi-Fi hotspot. Then the hacker can gain remote access to your devices through a smartphone application. Hackers can control your device and run commands through this cable as they are using your devices themselves.
On a more advanced level, this ingenious cable hacks your device and also contains geofencing features that allow hackers to generate the provision of a virus payload in your computer. Cybercriminals take advantage of the prospective target’s location. The cable with keylogging features can log keystrokes from hacked devices and remotely send them to the cybercriminal or hacker.
Strikingly, the OMG cable possesses a unique accessory inside that circumvents USB implantation. This tool eradicates the suggestion or proof that your computer will connect with a tinkered cable. When MG inserted the IP address of the cable that hacks the smartphone in his phone’s browser, he was able to proceed with many options to invade someone’s personal space. Truth be told, it’s not vital to know how an OMG cable works. What should be of concern to you is how to protect yourself and spot one of these.
How To Protect Yourself From An OMG Cable Hack?
The reason people are falling into this cable hack is that the cable is no different from a regular cable you use for your devices. At a superficial, surface-level…you can’t tell a difference. In fact, I bet 99% of cable users wouldn’t know one of these OMG cables possessed the potential to access so much information. A few versions of an OMG cable are identical to the human eye. Here’s how you can escape from this trap that hacks your smartphones and other connected devices.
Critically examine the connection cable before using any. Look for an official MFI badge on the packaging of original cables certified by Apple or your phone’s manufacturer. It also possesses a serial number of 12 digits. Besides carefully examining both connectors of your device’s cable, if you notice any rough edges or an unusual increase in the insulator’s width, you are dealing with an altered or OMG cable that hacks phones. This is another reason why you should only buy from respected and trusted brands. This is also another reason why you should be careful whenever you’re using someone else’s accessories. And it doesn’t matter if you know the person. How do you know they didn’t just randomly find a cable and started using it?
You should regularly check for hacking signs on your phone, tablet, or computer. The signs that support someone hacking your device include sudden spikes in the network activity, unusual pop-ups requesting your login details, the accidental opening of terminals, and seized social media accounts. You should regularly keep track of such suspicious activities. And as an extra precaution, enable two-factor authentication on every account that has this feature.
Best Way To Protect Yourself: Be Smart
The malicious OMG cable is hardly distinguishable from the legit cables certified by Apple, or Samsung, or your devices’ manufacturers and is freely sold on the internet. So it is wise to stay alert to it and always examine your device’s cable critically before purchasing for yourself. If the cable isn’t yours…don’t use it. You should never use any random cable. Even if you’re at a workplace around people you know and trust. Just don’t do it. Furthermore, it might benefit you to invest in some reliable malware protection software.
What Alternatives Should I Buy?
So…what are you supposed to do if your factory-supplied cables go missing or get damaged? As tempting as it is to buy the cheapest alternative on Amazon, I wouldn’t. There are literally thousands of knock-off, generic branded charging cables for Apple and Android devices. In my experience, they are low-quality products that usually last about 2-3 months. Ironically, they usually last just a little bit longer than your Amazon guaranteed date for refunds. If I were to prioritize where to buy a charging cable, I’d buy direct from Apple or Samsung. You’ll pay about the same price as you would on Amazon (but you won’t get free prime shipping). Another viable option is to just go to a mobile carrier store (preferably where you bought from) and get a branded replacement. If those aren’t options and Amazon is your jam, I have the appropriate links for each device brand below.
Best Charging Cord For Android and Samsung Devices
These two are the options I would get if I had an Android or Samsung phone. It’s a USB Type-A to USB Type-C connection. This Samsung USB-C comes in black and is approximately 4 feet long and the other Samsung branded cord I’d recommend comes in white and is 1 meter long.
Best Charging Cord for Apple Devices
Believe it or not, some Apple devices do use a USB Type-C (the newer versions of the iPad Pro). The iPhone still uses a lightning cable (I won’t go on the 2000-word diatribe I could easily whip up on why that annoys me, but I digress…). The two options I would get for Apple devices on Amazon (and remember these are Apple-branded products) are the Apple Lighting USB cable and the Apple USB-C charging cable (for Ipad Pro).
Again, the prices on Amazon are comparable to buying directly from their website. If you don’t mind paying a little in shipping, that’s the route I’d recommend.