Here’s a good word of advice. Don’t scrimp on cables. You know the kind. USB to Lightning cables. Or, any USB cable. You can find absolutely dirt cheap Lightning cables on Amazon, but most of mine– most, but not all– came from Apple.
Yes, I paid the price. What did I get in return?
I thought I was getting safety and security; somewhat more than durability. It’s not that I’ve had a problem with my iPhone and iPad cables. Yes, you’ll see all kinds of horror stories online about Apple customers with frayed and frazzled cables.
Hey, it’s a cable, not a steel rod. Plug and unplug properly and you won’t have any problems; those cables can last for many years when treated well. Grab them by the connector to pull out, not by the cable. In all the years of using an Apple Lightning cable I’ve only had one go bad, and that one I ran over with my office chair.
Why Apple? Why not some nameless brand that is less than half the price?
There is a way to hijack your computer (the USB to Lightning cable from Mac to iPhone or iPad) even when using a legitimate and official Apple USB to Lightning cable. Joseph Cox describes a routine we’ve all gone through many times:
I plugged the Apple lightning cable into my iPod and connected it to my Mac, just as I normally would. My iPod started charging, iTunes detected the device, and my iPod produced the pop-up asking if I wanted to trust this computer.
Normal behavior, right?
There was just one problem lurking in that non-Apple USB to Lightning cable.
But this cable was hiding a secret. A short while later, a hacker remotely opened a terminal on my Mac’s screen, letting them run commands on my computer as they saw fit. This is because this wasn’t a regular cable. Instead, it had been modified to include an implant; extra components placed inside the cable letting the hacker remotely connect to the computer.
So much for your Mac being safer than a Windows PC.
Granted, this is not normal behavior. You need a Mac and iPhone and the malicious code to be embedded into the cable, or you need someone to give you such a cable, so the whole setup takes some effort but you can buy a fully operational malicious cable online for $200.