Raspberry Pi Zero device can hack a computer in less than a minute

The £4 microcomputer can carry out a hack in seconds, even if it's locked

Despite complicated passwords and other security measures, PCs can still be vulnerable to hacking, even from a small device that costs under 5.

The so-called PoisonTap, developed by privacy and security researcher Samy Kamkar, is made out of a Rasperry Pi Zero microcomputer, which costs 4, and a common USB cable. When plugged into a computer, it can steal login details to websites in less than a minute.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The device hijacks the computer's internet traffic by giving it an IP address, easily stealing the users' login details for websites like Facebook or Gmail.

It prompts the computer to send requests from the web browser to websites to steel its cookies, which often contain login details of the person or people who generally use the browser.

These details are then sent to the hacker through the PoisonTap, allowing them to access users' personal accounts.

After it has been unplugged, the PoisonTap still maintains backdoor and remote access to the computer.

It works on locked computers as well, if the user happens to have left web browsers open. This can be detrimental in work places, where employees might have left their computer unattended to participate in a meeting or take a break.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The device is ideal for such circumstances, as it needs under a minute to work (usually around 30 seconds), and can carry out the whole process without unlocking the PC.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Security analyst Graham Cluley told IT Pro: "I'm not sure this is a huge threat to the typical computer user, but that if an attacker gets physical access to your turned-on PC then we often find that all bets are off."

In a post presenting the device, its creator, Kamkar, said: "Closing your browser every time you walk away from your machine can work, but is entirely impractical."

Instead, he suggests using HTTPS exclusively, at least for authentication and authenticated content, as well as ensuring the Secure flag is enabled on cookies, and using HSTS to prevent HTTPS downgrade attacks.

Finally, he also provides some Desktop Security advice, such as adding cement to USB and Thunderbolt ports or disabling them entirely.

Featured Resources

Preparing for long-term remote working after COVID-19

Learn how to safely and securely enable your remote workforce

Download now

Cloud vs on-premise storage: What’s right for you?

Key considerations driving document storage decisions for businesses

Download now

Staying ahead of the game in the world of data

Create successful marketing campaigns by understanding your customers better

Download now

Transforming productivity

Solutions that facilitate work at full speed

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/hardware/mobile/356045/turn-your-raspberry-pi-into-an-aircraft-tracker
Mobile

Turn your Raspberry Pi into an aircraft tracker

13 Jun 2020
Visit/security/ransomware/356292/university-of-california-gets-fleeced-by-hackers-for-114-million
ransomware

University of California gets fleeced by hackers for $1.14 million

30 Jun 2020
Visit/security/cyber-security/356289/australia-announces-135b-investment-in-cybersecurity
cyber security

Australia announces $1.35 billion investment in cyber security

30 Jun 2020
Visit/cloud/cloud-security/356288/csa-and-issa-form-cybersecurity-partnership
cloud security

CSA and ISSA form cyber security partnership

30 Jun 2020

Most Popular

Visit/mobile/google-android/356373/over-2-dozen-additional-android-apps-found-stealing-user-data
Google Android

Over two dozen Android apps found stealing user data

7 Jul 2020
Visit/laptops/29190/how-to-find-ram-speed-size-and-type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

24 Jun 2020
Visit/cloud/356260/the-road-to-recovery
Sponsored

The road to recovery

30 Jun 2020