LONDON: Many modern laptops and an increasing number of desktop computers are much more vulnerable to hacking through common plug-in devices than previously thought, a study has found. The researchers from the University of Cambridge in the UK and Rice University in the US shows that attackers can compromise an unattended machine in a matter of seconds through devices such as chargers and docking stations. Vulnerabilities were found in computers with Thunderbolt ports running Windows, macOS, Linux and FreeBSD. Many modern laptops and an increasing number of desktops are susceptible. The researchers exposed the vulnerabilities through Thunderclap, an open-source platform they have created to study the security of computer peripherals and their interactions with operating systems. It can be plugged into computers using a USB-C port that supports the Thunderbolt interface and allows the researchers to investigate techniques available to attackers. They found that potential attacks could take complete control of the target computer. In addition to plug-in devices like network and graphics cards, attacks can also be carried out by seemingly innocuous peripherals like chargers and projectors that correctly charge or project video but simultaneously compromise the host machine. Computer peripherals such as network cards and graphics processing units… Read full this story
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