Do you charge your smartphone wirelessly? It is best to keep these risks in mind My guide

independentEasy, right, a wireless charger for your smartphone? Or is it better to charge via the classic cable? Wireless charging makes your device vulnerable to hacking. There are other potential dangers also lurking around the corner. independentbender.b she is gone.

Written by Tom DeJong, in collaboration with Independent


Where is the weak link?

If you place your smartphone on a wireless charger, it charges your phone via an electromagnetic field. When your device is charging, it communicates this to the charger via the so-called Qi protocol. There is an adapter between the charger and the socket. This turned out to be a weak point in the system.

Researchers at the University of Florida and specialists from the security company CertiK discovered that you can cause fluctuations in the transformer voltage without having to change anything on the charger itself. These fluctuations disrupt the connection between the smartphone and the charger.

Read more: Five tips to help your smartphone or laptop battery last longer.

What risks do you face?

It's about a new cyberattack: VoltSchemer. This can cause three things, all of which are very annoying.

First, anyone who wants can use VoltSchemer to send commands to their smartphone's voice assistant. For example, a command to call a specific phone number, or to open a website or application.

But it doesn't stop there. VoltSchemer bypasses the safety mechanism of the Qi protocol, which means that the charger can also suddenly transfer energy to objects, when this is not the intention at all. For example, scientists have heated the clips of a laptop to 280 degrees Celsius, melted a USB stick, and heated an external hard drive, which of course destroyed the data on it.

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By disabling the connection between the smartphone and the charger, the charger no longer knows that the smartphone is fully charged. This way, the charger continues to charge the smartphone to its full potential, causing it to get hotter and hotter. During the demo, the Samsung Galaxy S8 reached a temperature of 81°C. For example, your smartphone could catch fire while charging.

Browse on public WiFi at your hotel, on the train or at the store: What are the risks associated with this?

What can you do about this?

Now you are probably thinking: buy another wireless charger that is more resistant to VoltSchemer attack? No, because researchers tested the nine most popular wireless chargers, and they all turned out to be vulnerable to cyber attacks. Scientists have now informed the manufacturers. So it is expected that they will modify their chargers so that VoltSchemer attack is no longer possible.

What can you do in the meantime to prevent problems? We will not dare to say right away whether charging via cable is safer. Opinions on this are divided to say the least. Opponents say wireless charging is safer because fewer electrical errors occur.

In any case, always make sure that your smartphone battery does not overheat. So never leave your phone in the sun or in a hot car. Certainly not while your device is charging, because the battery will get warmer anyway. Is the weather too warm? Is your smartphone in good condition? Then you better get your phone out. This way the battery can cool better. At the very least, always install Android and iOS updates: this way you are better protected against malware.

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Don't forget to subscribe correctly

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Winton Frazier

 "Amateur web lover. Incurable travel nerd. Beer evangelist. Thinker. Internet expert. Explorer. Gamer."

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