Scientists have invented a dangerous new charger capable of infecting iPhones with any malware they choose.
Eggheads from the Georgia Institute of Technology claim to be able to hack an iPhone in under one minute using a "malicious charger" called Mactans.
The team claimed their findings challenge the iPhone's reputation as an über-secure platform.
Billy Lau, Yeongjin Jang and Chengyu Song will debut their evil plug at the Black Hat USA conference, which starts at the end of July.
Describing their discovery, the team said: "Apple iOS devices are considered by many to be more secure than other mobile offerings. In evaluating this belief, we investigated the extent to which security threats were considered when performing everyday activities such as charging a device. The results were alarming.
"Despite the plethora of defense mechanisms in iOS, we successfully injected arbitrary software into current-generation Apple devices running the latest operating system software. All users are affected, as our approach requires neither a jailbroken device nor user interaction."
Apple phones come with sophisticated security mechanisms to help prevent unauthorised software installing itself without permission. The team claimed that "USB capabilities can be leveraged to bypass these defense mechanisms" and then cloak the injected software, so it appears to be "hidden in the same way Apple hides it own built-in applications".
They created Mactans using a Beagleboard, naming it after the Latin name for the Black Widow spider - Latrodectus mactan.
"This hardware was selected to demonstrate the ease with which innocent-looking, malicious USB chargers can be constructed," the team added.
"While Mactans was built with a limited amount of time and a small budget, we also [considered] what more motivated, well-funded adversaries could accomplish," the team added.
Fanbois can rest easy: the mad scientists only wanted to probe the potential security flaws in your iPhone so Apple can protect you from the big bad world of malware. Although, seeing as one of the team trained at Peking University, it's not difficult to imagine where these "well-funded adversaries" might be coming from. ®
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