A new hack can destroy your smartphone and fast charger

In the field of hacks and vulnerabilities that steal sensitive data from your phone and can even wreck them, a new hack has been discovered that can corrupt your fast charger and the smartphone. The vulnerability is called BadPower and can change the firmware on your fast chargers. BadPower hack corrupts the fast charger and stops the chip’s firmware and the charging device from “agreeing” on a set voltage for the charging process. The hack is not meant to be like malware or ransomware, where the device is kept as a hostage to get money from the user. It is meant to corrupt the fast charger and physically destroy the device.

Fast charging is one of the most exclusive features in today’s smartphones, which is a mandate in every smartphone brand. Due to this, every new smartphone is coming up with fast charging technology, making it prone to new kinds of attacks and vulnerabilities. BadPower was initially reported by ZDNet, where they mentioned that the hack will hamper the set voltage for chargers and will permanently damage the smartphone. Many devices can only accept 5 volts as the safety limit, while some can accept 20 volts. Therefore, increasing the voltage will make the device burst into flames. 

As per the researcher, 35 fast chargers that they checked, 18 were vulnerable to BadPower, out of which 11 could be corrupted via digital terminals. Adding additional fuses to the chargers that support lower voltage fast charging can help avoid any fire or blast on the phone due to BadPower. As per the researcher, there is currently no resolution for the issue, but they are working to find the workaround. Apart from that, companies will have to add more elements to the charger to avoid situations where the charger can damage the device.

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