Speaking at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology demonstrated how a small Linux ARM device they call a MACTANS could infect Apple iOS devices with a Trojan.
The way the attack works is relatively simple. The user’s device is infected with a trojan when he or she plugs the iOS device into the MACTANS charger.
That trojan could be any form of malicious payload hackers want to deploy, whether it’s for stealing information or controlling the user’s phone remotely.
The MACTANS device is running Linux on top of an ARM powered BeagleBoard.
Billy Lau, research scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said that MACTANS device and attack work on existing stock Apple iOS devices. The devices do not need to be jailbroken in order for the MACTANS to work. A jailbreak is when a user breaks Apple’s lock on the device, typically to enable non-Apple approved apps to run.