Apple iOS devices like the iPhone, iPod, and iPad are relatively safe from viruses and hackers because of the closed system that Apple maintains around apps. Apps must be approved by Apple before they are released to the general population through the Apple Store. For this reason, iPads, iPhones, and iPods are safe from viruses, malware, and other problems, as long as they are not jailbroken.

However, now a team of researchers from Georgia Tech say they can hack an iPad, iPhone, or iPod in under a minute by using a malicious charger. That’s right, the charger of iOS devices is evidently hackable. The GT team’s finding will be presented at the Black Hat Computer Security Conference on July 27, 2013 in Las Vegas.

Because of Apple’s tight control of their apps and accessories, the Georgia Tech team investigated other ways to penetrate Apple’s defenses. Mactans, the name given to the malicious charger that the team built, is named after the scientific name given to the deadly black widow spider, Latrodectus mactans.

All iOS devices whether jailbroken or not are affected by this issue. A preview of the group’s presentation does not state whether the charger is a modified version of current Apple equipment or if its an entirely brand new device.


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