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Researchers say any USB peripheral could steal your data, even a coffee-cup warmer

Sean Hollister
07.05.10
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So you've got a nice secure thumbdrive, but did you ever think to lock its port? Engineers at the Royal Military College of Canada say the plug and play functionality built into most computers automatically trusts whatever's plugged into the USB slot. That doesn't just go for flash drives left out on the street, but all manner of other peripherals as well, as the trio of triumphant researchers demonstrated when they (presumably) infiltrated colleagues' offices with a totally sweet spy keyboard. That particular device flashed an LED or made the mark's sound card warble to covertly transmit stolen data, but such exotic methods are reportedly not required -- so you've yet another reason to cringe when your coworker trots out his Humping Dog.

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