E-Cigarettes May Be Bad For Your (Computer's) Health

By Gerald Lynch on at

Are e-cigarettes better for your health than traditional cigarettes? Probably. Are traditional cigarettes better for your computer's health than e-cigarettes? Potentially.

Reddit TalesFromTechSupport user "IT Guy" claims to have discovered malware "hard coded" into the USB charger for his boss's "$5 dollar eBay Made in China" battery-powered snout, which infected his senior's computer.

"The executive’s system was patched up to date, had anti-virus and up-to-date anti-malware protection," reads the post.

"Web logs were scoured and all attempts made to identify the source of the infection were to no avail. Finally, after all traditional means of infection were covered, IT started looking into other possibilities. It finally asked the executive 'have there been any changes in your life recently'? The executive answer was, 'well yes, I quit smoking two weeks ago and switched to e-cigarettes.'"

While IT Guy's posts on the matter went cold after a few subsequent questions from fellow Redditors, it's not impossible that the charger did manage to infect the machine. As one poster points out, though a USB storage device would notify a user when plugged in and raise suspicions, if it was disguising itself as a keyboard it wouldn't necessarily make eyebrows dance up towards your hairline. Accepting permissions for an unrecognised device would be enough for it to dig into your system and plant its nefarious seed.

While it shouldn't be enough to make you give up yet another habit, it's worth being a little skeptical about any untrusted USB devices in general, given the BadUSB scares of late. [Reddit via The Register]