Every iPhone and iPad user is familiar with the Lightning cable — it’s Apple’s universal charging cord. But an inventor who goes by “MG” has created a look-alike cord copy that can give hackers complete access to all of your data. The lesson? Bring your own changer — don’t ask a stranger.
Called the “O.MG Cable,” this device allows hackers to run commands on any Mac or PC computer it’s plugged into. It contains a built-in wireless hotspot that lets the hacker read private information, transfer money, delete data, and much more from a distance.
The creator “MG” told a reporter at the “Def Con” hacking conference last summer that “It’s like being able to sit at the keyboard and mouse of the victim but without actually being there.” An early version of the device was shown for the first time at the conference, but the cable is now being mass-produced and is listed on the Hak5 hacking website.
The O.MG Cable looks exactly like the actual Lightning cables that come with Apple devices — it even works as a charger. “MG” advertised the device in a Tweet on September 28, calling it a “fully field-ready piece of attack hardware.” It’s currently listed on the Hak5 website as “Coming Soon,” with no price yet announced. Aspiring hackers can sign up to be notified when it’s available for purchase.
So what can you do to protect yourself from this sneaky form of hacking? Though it’s common for Lightning cables to get lost or broken, don’t take the risk of borrowing one from someone you don’t know. Knockoff Lightning cables that aren’t designed for hacking can damage your iPhone or computer, and can even be a fire hazard.
Real Apple cables will always have an “MFi” logo on the package, which stands for “Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod.” This stamp certifies that the cable has passed Apple’s standards for safety and data protection. Some knockoffs will try to mimic this logo though, so check out Apple’s support page to make sure your charger’s the real thing.