Researchers Highlight Alarming Findings of Cyberattacks via Wireless Chargers, Risking Smartphone Fires and Device Damage

A new study has raised the alarm about a cyberattack that has the capability of setting smartphones on fire through wireless chargers.

The news was published through a report generated by researchers from Florida University in collaboration with a leading audio firm CertiK who proved how such attacks could soon be on the rise, having devastating consequences.

The shocking academic paper where the report was published goes on to describe how wireless chargers have certain vulnerabilities that hackers have exposed and will not exploit users with by carrying out such attacks. They have gone deep down into seeing how these are manufactured and how they’re exposed to the likes of IEMI through the hands of such criminals.

A series of cyberattacks gives permission for voice commands that cannot be heard. They are sent out remotely and can control voice assistants of a certain target device. They overcharge all batteries and that causes overheating and damage of anything present nearby to the specific wireless chargers. For instance, a USB stick, a car fob, or any SSD located on a laptop.

For those wondering what the VoltSchemer is in the first place, there is an easier understanding provided on this front. Brands such as Anker and even Phillips were tested by the authors of the study and they found a range of security fears in them when they made use of two testing devices the Apple iPhone and the Google Pixel phone.

Such attacks take place by looking at the input voltage of chargers and working toward manipulating them. The latter does not need any kind of software to carry out the act nor does it require software modifications to enable chargers or software to function. Even if you put a device that’s designed to do all of this in the middle, it would transform this into something scary and very dangerous.

If you ask critics, they’re calling it scary and something similar to the realms of black magic. You can manipulate electromagnetic interference frequency and researchers can inject certain commands into voice that aren’t audible to the human ear but they can be comprehended by the device’s microphone as well as the voice assistant. The latter occurs without any kind of interrupting power exchange arising from a single wireless pad for charging purposes.

The study is certainly alarming and there are a lot more details provided on how the authors did come to the shocking conclusion and that’s why they’re now raising the alarm. We do recommend giving the paper a read if you’re keen on seeing what other types of tests were carried out. For instance, the technique of Foreign Object Destruction where you can see how wireless chargers can be tricked to carry out all sorts of activities like power transfer to another metallic object present nearby.

Image: DIW-AIgen

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