As electronic cigarettes become a more widely seen as an alternative to smoking cigarettes, the vaporizers have been subjected to legitimizing federal legislation. What you may not know is that electronic cigarettes are actually the latest potential vector for hackers to attack from.
If you don't know how electronic cigarettes work, they're battery-powered heating elements filled with "juice" that consists of nicotine, flavoring and a combination of vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol.
The result is that, instead of inhaling cigarette smoke, smokers get their nicotine fix with what people usually compare to a fog machine. The jury is still out on the long-term health effects of vaping, but the act has already become popular enough to make its way into the Oxford English Dictionary.
Most of the U.S.'s electronic cigarettes come from China and most of them are powered by USB chargers. Think for a second about a new hacking method I announced a few months back and see if you can guess what Chinese hackers are now using to infect computers.
A Reddit post claimed that a piece of mystery malware came from an unnamed executive's electronic cigarette. I put two and two together in an instant.
The USB hack worked by rewriting a flash drive's firmware.
If a hacker could do the same thing to an electronic cigarette that charges through a USB port, then every electronic cigarette could be vulnerable.
It hasn't spread too far yet, as the first report is all anyone's heard about this happening so far. It could, however, be the start of a wave of hacker attacks coming from electronic cigarettes. If you vape, be sure to only buy from a brand that people trust.