It's Possible (and Fairly Easy) to Hack a PC With a Vape Pen

it-and-39;s-possible-and-fairly-easy-to-hack-a-pc-with-a-vape-pen photo 1

E-cigarette smokers consider yourself warned: that vape pen you love to puff on could expose your computer to malware.

According to a report from Sky News, security researcher Ross Bevington recently demonstrated how to hack a PC with a vape pen during a presentation at BSides London. Bevington showed how a modified e-cigarette, once plugged into a computer to be charged via USB, could attack the machine by interfering with its network traffic or masquerading as a keyboard.

His technique required the victim's machine to be unlocked, though other vape-based attacks will even work on locked machines, the researcher told Sky News.

Bevington isn't the only security researcher warning people about this attack vector. A security engineer and malware researcher who goes by the alias Fouroctets recently posted on Twitter a 22-second proof-of-concept video showing a modified vape pen executing arbitrary code on a Windows-based laptop.

In the video, which you can see below, the researcher plugs the vape pen into the machine, and within seconds, a message pops up on the screen that reads "DO U EVEN VAPE BRO!!!!!"

Related

  • FDA Bans Sale of E-Cigs to MinorsFDA Bans Sale of E-Cigs to Minors

"Sorry if I get vape pens banned at your work place," Fouroctets tweeted.

Speaking with Sky News, the researcher said he simply added a hardware chip to the vape pen that allowed it to communicate with the laptop as if it were a keyboard or mouse. The researcher said an attacker would be able to use this method to download and run a malicious file on a victim's PC with less than 20 lines of code, according to the report.

Bevington said users should ensure that their machines are up to date with the latest security patches before plugging a vape pen in to charge. He also recommended businesses invest in a monitoring solution that will flag this type of attack. We'd also advise you to only buy your vape pens from reputable sources.

Recommended stories

Relax It's Possible (and Fairly Easy) to Hack a PC With a Vape Pen stories

How to Research a Business Opportunity

Protect yourself by learning what a business opportunity really is, how the government regulates them, and the steps you should take to ensure you've found the best opportunity available.

More stories