Hackers can see passwords with iPhone charging cable

Technology suitable for hacking is getting cheaper and cheaper. Now a new “OMG Cable” has appeared that is suitable for stealing passwords – and is freely available in stores.

Imagine you borrow a Lightning cable to charge your Apple keyboard, for example. While you continue to use the keyboard normally, the cable sends every keystroke you make to another computer – including all your login data and passwords. The OMG cable from the cybersecurity group “Hak5” is a so-called “keylogger” that tracks and stores every keystroke.

Indistinguishable from a real Lightning cable

The cable works like a conventional USB-C to Lightning cable that comes with every newer iPhone in the box. However, hidden inside is a Wi-Fi hotspot that attackers can connect to. On their own device, they can then launch a program and start recording every single keystroke. The technology for this fits completely into the small plastic cover above the plug itself.

Originally, this design came from security researcher “MG”, who presented an early version of the cable at the hacking event “DEF CON”. In the meantime, however, the cables are mass-produced and distributed by the site Hak5, as the online magazine “Motherboard” reports. The OMG Cables with keylogger function are available for free sale starting at 160 US dollars (135 euros). The cables can store up to 650,000 keystrokes.

Chip vulnerability makes nearly one in three smartphones vulnerable to hackers

Multiple possibilities for hacking attacks

While the prototype keylogger cable had a larger USB-A connector to hide the technology, newer versions are now available with USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to Lightning. Security researcher MG also told Motherboard that the cables would work at a wireless range of more than a mile (1.6 kilometers). The range was tested in the densely built-up downtown Oakland area.

Moreover, the attacks are not limited to a keyboard-to-Mac or PC connection. The keylogger cables also work with smartphones and tablets. In addition, the OMG Cables can convert keystrokes into other inputs and even impersonate another USB device.


  • Motherboard