Newly discovered bug can burn your fast-charging smartphone; here are the details

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Published: July 21, 2020 1:41 PM

Lots of new smartphones can accommodate just 15 or 18W, so you can imagine what 100W of power is going to do for the internals.

Lots of new smartphones can accommodate just 15 or 18W, so you can imagine what 100W of power is going to do for the internals.

Fast charging is a boon for smartphone users, there are absolutely no two ways about that. Fast charging is also a key differentiator among new-age phones. But fast charging can also be fatal for your smartphone, so it seems.

According to a study done by the researchers at Tencent’s Xuanwu Lab, a smartphone charging with fast chargers can melt and also some time can catch fire. The researchers have found a new vulnerability called BadPower that can alter the firmware of fast charging devices into a fire hazard that in turn can destroy phones. Researchers at the Tencent’s Xuanwu lab claim that BadPower interferes with the performance to produce more power than is appropriate for the connected unit, which can be incredibly high for the current charger.

The report from the Xuanwu lab stated that out of 35 chargers they tested for verifying their assertion, 18 of them showed vulnerabilities for the BadPower. The report, however, did not name the brands of chargers used for experiments to build the assertion of the impact of BadPower.

The group of researchers claimed that BadPower interferes with the performance to produce more power than is appropriate for any charger. The firmware in these chargers should negotiate the correct combination of voltage and current to charge a connected device at maximum speed, which for power delivery can be as high as 20V and 5A. Lots of new smartphones can accommodate just 15 or 18W, so you can imagine what 100W of power is going to do for the internals.

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