It feels like there are a million and one different things that people need to worry about when it comes to vaping. From finding reliable vendors for their e-juices to caring for their e-cigarettes properly to taking the right safety steps with their batteries, there are a lot of things that vapers need to keep in mind.
And now, it sounds like there might be one more thing to add to the list. Most e-cigarettes on the market today come with charging cords that allow you to use your computer’s USB port to charge your battery.
This makes it really convenient for people to charge their e-cigs when they’re sitting down at their PC. They can keep a close eye on their vaping device while simultaneously messing around on their computer or doing work on it.
But did you know that you might be putting your computer at risk by connecting your e-cigarette to it? A researcher posted a video on social media recently that shows just how easy it can be for a hacker to transfer malware from an e-cigarette to a PC. By simply plugging your e-cigarette into your PC, you can open it up to an attack and potentially cause problems with it.
The good news is that most vapers won’t have to worry about this happening to them. But we know that some of you out there might be concerned about it, so we thought we would take a closer look at this situation and show you how to avoid having hacking become an issue for you. Scroll down to see why you might want to think twice before using your computer to charge your e-cigarette.
What the Researcher Showed in His Video
In late May, a video featuring researcher Ross Bevington was posted on Twitter in an effort to demonstrate how an e-cigarette can be used by a hacker to transfer data or malware onto a PC. The video was only about 20 seconds long, but it drove his point home. You can watch the video for yourself here:
Sorry if I get vape pens banned at your work place…… pic.twitter.com/VYhIIvyDEx
— Wll buy derby ticket (@FourOctets) May 25, 2017
As you can see, Bevington was able to make the words “DO U EVEN VAPE BRO!!!!!!” pop up on his computer screen when he plugged his e-cigarette into his PC. And he didn’t have to do anything in order to do it. He had already tinkered with his e-cigarette to make it possible for it to connect to his computer and have the message pop up.
The experiment Bevington conducted was a simple one, and no harm was done to his computer. But it proved that there is some risk that comes along with plugging an e-cigarette into a PC. If that e-cigarette has been tampered with and rigged to do harm to a PC, it could potentially do it when you plug an e-cigarette into your computer.
Your e-cigarette’s USB connection could present problems for you—problems that you hadn’t even considered in the past. And if nothing else, it should force you to think twice before you decide to plug your e-cigarette into your PC. You never know what could happen to your PC when you do.
Could the Same Thing Happen to You?
While Bevington’s video did raise some eyebrows within the vaping community, we should stop you here and point out that you probably won’t ever run into any issues with hacking when it comes to your e-cigarette. If you purchased your e-cig from a reputable company and the e-cig was brand new when you bought it, then it’s extremely unlikely that it has any malware on it.
That being said, you should be mindful of who you purchase e-cigarettes from, especially if you obtain cheap e-cigarettes manufactured in China. There are also some vapers who will purchase used e-cigs from friends and fellow vapers. And while that’s not always a bad idea, you are going to want to steer clear of charging those e-cigarettes in your PC, because you never know what might be located inside of them.
Additionally, you should steer clear of letting other people borrow your e-cigarette at any time. You don’t necessarily have to watch it like a hawk 24/7/365. Unless you’re harboring official government secrets on your PC, it’s unlikely someone is going to go to great lengths to take your e-cigarette so that they can use it to access your computer.
But it’s always better to be safe than sorry. We live in a world where hacking has, unfortunately, become problematic for many people. So you should make every effort to keep your PC protected in this crazy world we live in today.
How to Protect Your PC
In addition to being mindful about the devices you plug into your PC through the USB ports, you should also protect your PC by asking friends not to use your PC to charge their e-cigarettes. Even if you trust them completely and don’t think that they would ever intentionally try to do you harm, you never know what could be on their e-cigarettes.
The best way to prevent yourself—and your PC—from running into any of the problems mentioned here is to stick to charging your e-cigarette in a wall outlet whenever you can. It can be a little bit inconvenient at times to go that route, but you won’t have to worry about running into any issues when you do it.
You should also keep yourself up to date on the latest news involving e-cigarettes and hacking. It seems like there’s an incredibly small chance of it affecting you at this time. But as we go forward and e-cigarettes get more and more technologically advanced, the odds of you encountering problems could increase.
So make sure you keep yourself educated on the subject and, as always, only buy e-cigarettes from trusted sources. Outside of providing you with the best vaping experience possible, these e-cigarettes will also cut down on and, in most cases, completely eliminate any hacking risks. That will prevent you from encountering a huge headache and allow you to focus on vaping as opposed to trying to fix your PC.