Researchers tested their theory on nine chargers, each different and available to consumers, and found them all vulnerable to their attacks.

Dark Reading Staff, Dark Reading

February 21, 2024

1 Min Read
Phone on a wireless charger on a table next to a laptop
Source: Fusssergei via Adobe Stock

Researchers from the University of Florida, alongside CertiK, have come up with a theoretical attack, called "VoltSchemer" (PDF), that allows for wireless charger takeover through power supply voltage manipulation.

The attack could allow threat actors to damage charging devices, bypass Qi standard's mechanisms, and manipulate voice assistants. It would be able to do this by exploiting voltage noises from the power supply.

The Qi standard was developed by the Wireless Power Consortium and handles communication among the power adapter, wireless charger, and charging device.

Wireless chargers rely on near-field magnetic coupling for power transfer, making them more secure than wired chargers. The power signals used for power transfers, however, could be modified to control Qi communication between the charged device and the charger, allowing a threat actor to instruct the charger to perform malicious acts.

"The schemed voltage noises from the power adapter can propagate through the power cable and modulate the power signals on the charger's transmitter coil due to the effects of electromagnetic interference (EMI) on the charger," the researchers stated in the paper.

The researchers also noted that they've tested their theoretical attacks against nine different commercial wireless chargers and found them all to be vulnerable. 

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Dark Reading Staff

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