Don't talk to strangers, keep your drink where you can see it, and don't use anybody else's iPhone charger. That third safety rule might become common practice now that researchers have created an iPhone charger than can hack your phone in less than a minute.
The researchers, Billy Lau, Yeongjin Jang, and Chengyu Song, are from Georgia Institute of Technology. They will present their new device, called Mactans, at an IT security conference in July. The product shows how "an attacker can hide their software in the same way Apple hides its own built-in applications," according to the presentation's description.
Fortunately, the power to hack phones via a charger is only in the good guys' hands as of now. The researchers who created Mactans aren't trying to hack anyone; they're simply showing it can be done.
The device uses a BeagleBoard processor, which, while small, is still too big to fit into a traditional iPhone charger, as Forbes points out. It could, however, fit into a charging case, external charger, or other device.
Lau, Jang, and Song write that they worked on a very small budget, and it's scary to think of what hackers with more time, resources, and malicious intent could do.
While hackers don't seem to be using chargers just yet to get into phones, one common way information is stolen is via phishing email scams, AllThingsD reported in April. Users should be wary of emails asking them to download products, and should only purchase apps from trusted sources like Google Play.