Is Your iPhone Cable Spying On You?
Don’t worry too much if you’re using an original Apple cable, but there are some really shady third-party cables available online that allow people to spy on you. These cables, like the one shown above, have a hidden SIM card slot that can connect to GSM mobile networks and can be used for nefarious activity.
Freely for sale on Amazon’s marketplace, and plenty of other online stores, are USB and iPhone cables that can be used to listen to your phone calls and track your location. When these cables are connected to a power source they can use a SIM card to connect to a mobile network. The hardware is unsophisticated but can send both audio and very coarse location data to a third-party.
The location system works using GPRS and cell tower information to track down roughly where it is located. The system isn’t any more sophisticated than this, and won’t be especially precise. A more worrying feature is the ability of the cable to detect sound over a certain threshold and then call a pre-programmed number. Once it has done this is relays the sound near it, be that a phone call or conversation, and allows a third-party to listen in.
Not only are there cables that do this, there are also USB power adaptors for your wall outlet that have the same SIM functionality. Cables and power adapters like this should also be something of a worry to firms that need their security too, they may well not be noticed by security checks and could be responsible for a lot of sensitive information walking out the front door.
In theory, this is just the tip of the iceberg, and the stuff you can buy on Amazon. It’s possible that more advanced devices could download data from your phone and upload it to a third-party. You could do some serious spying on someone if there was Wi-Fi or 4G built into one of these.
There’s some good security advice here too, that applies for all sorts of things. Don’t ever plug your phone into a “charging station” or another place that you aren’t sure about. Ideally don’t do it ever. Don’t borrow cables off people you don’t trust is solid advice too, although perhaps a little bit too paranoid for most people. It is possible to get cables that have all data lines disconnected. You could use one of these for charging in places the general public can access.
For the most part, this is nothing to worry about at all. Just be aware it’s possible. If you’re someone in a vulnerable position – say someone who has been the victim of domestic abuse – be wary, as devices like these could compromise your location.