We all know the benefits of electronic cigarettes, and there are many; possibly too many to list. For starters, e cigarettes do not contain tar or thousands of fatal chemicals found in traditional cigarettes. There is no second hand smoke, as you exhale vapour with e cigarettes rather than actual smoke. Additionally, there are less health side effects with an electronic cigarette. As you can see, many people focus on the health side of the debate for legalizing e cigarettes. However, there are now other factors that people should consider before buying an electronic cigarette.
A recent report has shown that e cigarettes can have “fatal” consequences in regard to your…privacy? Yes, your privacy. Everyone remembers the infamous Stuxnet virus that wreaked havoc on Iran’s nuclear centrifuges. This virus was said to have inflicted so much damage that it will take Iran years to recover from it. So, how was it done? Well, very easily actually – through a USB.
Just as in the above case, electronic cigarettes also use USB’s. It is one of the primary methods of charging your e-cig battery. If your USB is plugged into your computer, you could be the victim of a disastrous scam whereby a deceitful e cigarette provider can gain access to your computer. Unfortunately, at least one Reddit user has suffered from something of this nature. The Reddit user wrote, “The made in China e-cigarette had malware hardcoded into the charger, and when plugged into a computer’s USB port the malware phoned home and infected the system.”
We cannot say that we are surprised by this though. Malware has been around for just about as long as the Internet. In fact, Malware via USB is not a “new thing” – rather, it is quite old. However, we can see here that scam artists are getting cleverer, considering the vaping community numbers in the millions in the UK alone. The e cigarette market worldwide is a multi-billion dollar industry, which clearly numbers the vaping community in the tens of millions of people.
In the case of the Reddit user above, it was said that this person was using a very generic e cigarette USB charger. Keep in mind that like many products currently on shelves near you, almost all e cigarette products are made in China as well. Due to confusing international laws regarding identity theft and how you can prosecute an identity thief (*if you can even find them*), many scam artists reside in China. That said, it is absolutely crucial to buy an e-cig from a trusted and well-known supplier. It is imperative to read e cigarette reviews and keep an eye on what your e cigarette provider is up to, where and how it manufactures its products and what the level of quality assurance is. Once you are equipped with this information, you will limit your risk of a privacy breach.