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Researchers Show How Hackers Could Steal Passwords And Data Via USB Connections


No matter how secure you think your electronic device from a computer down to a mobile phone is,  as long as you can have Internet access in it , it can be hacked without you ever knowing it.  Hackers are smart and genius when it comes to data and technology they just have a way to get into your device and research has shown that when it comes to protection, USB connections have proven to be the weakest link in the chain.

According to the study by the University of Adelaide in a study, external USB drivers are very valuable when it comes to information leaking and over the years it has raised more concern among people and questions have been asked about the security of using an external USB drive on a secure computer. According to the research, test carried out on 70 computers with external USB drivers over 90% of information on the computer was leaked, making it a very high percentage in terms of the security of the computer and the document in it leaving them at high risk.

Project leader Dr Yuval Yarom, Research Associate with the University of Adelaide’s School of Computer Science in a press statement said “USB-connected devices include keyboards, card swipes and fingerprint readers which often send sensitive information to the computer.

But the research showed that if a malicious device  that’s been tampered with is plugged into adjacent ports on the same external or internal USB hub, this sensitive information can be captured.” That means keystrokes showing passwords or other private information can be easily stolen and the researchers have compared such data leaks to like water leaking from pipes.

According to them, “voltage fluctuations of the USB port’s data lines can be monitored from the adjacent ports on the USB hub.” In the test carried out, the researchers used a novelty plug in lamp with the USB connector to interpret every key stroke from keyboard USB port, so once the Bluetooth adaptor of the computer is on and connected to the keyboard it can send data from the computer to an external USB or another computer in few minutes without the prior knowledge of the owner of the computer.

With this discovery from the researchers lots of security questions were asked, and lectures on tempered USB sticks were carried out to ensure that these users are aware of the risk of allowing a tampered USB stick to be inserted in their computer and how to avoid risk having their data on the computer leaked and transferred to another computer anywhere in the world.

The future of USB connection should be redesigned to help boost security for computer users to enable them receive and accept data from other secure external drives , so as to avoid the fear of been hacked or data leakage. This also means that users should encrypt their documents or only connect to trusted USB drivers.

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