Malware-hosting e-cigs could be bad for your computer’s health

apple vaporizer patent e cigs vaping
E-cigarettes are widely recognized as a healthier alternative for seasoned smokers, but they could pose a threat of a different kind. Some users have reported spotting suspicious activity on their PCs after plugging e-cigs into a USB port, and there are worries that less reputable brands could be using the vape sticks to spread viruses.

The warning comes via a report in the Guardian and a thread on Reddit, started by a user who noticed malware on his boss’ computer. The cause of the problem was eventually narrowed down to the USB charging cable that came with his e-cig — malware had been hard-coded into the device and was able to infect the system once it was plugged in.

A cheap Chinese cable is believed to have been the root cause of the problem, and electronic cigarette smokers are advised to stick to the well-known brands and be wary of shady counterfeit goods when picking up e-cigs. “For consumers it’s a case of running up-to-date anti-malware for the production line stuff and only using trusted devices to counter the threat,” Trend Micro’s Rik Ferguson told the Guardian.

Vaping has been gathering more legitimacy and attention over the past 12 months, with a wide range of products and accompanying apps now available for those who want to make the switch from tobacco — even if there have been one or two regulatory issues along the way.

Some experts remain skeptical about the safety of e-cigs in the absence of any detailed research into the long-term health effects, but with “vape” declared the new word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries this week, it looks like they’re here to stay — just make sure you charge yours via a USB power socket adapter rather than your computer to stay safe.

[Image courtesy of Leszek Glasner / Shutterstock.com]

News

Has purpose become a punchline? Among startups, the debate rages

Tech companies pledging to do good as they make money hand over fist has become a Silicon Valley punchline, but beneath the jeering, a real debate is playing out among startup founders and the investors who fund them.
Gaming

Here are all the game streaming services you should know about

You can still get your physical video game discs or cartridges at your local store or download games digitally, but another option is even more convenient: Game streaming. Here are the best game-streaming services.
Home Theater

Reasons not to mount a TV over your fireplace, and how to do it anyway

Mounting a TV above your fireplace may be popular and it might even seem appealing, but we have some concerns. We've got a list of reasons why placing your digital picture machine over a fire should be avoided, if at all possible.
Mobile

Here are some common Kindle Fire problems, and how to fix them

Is your Amazon tablet giving you grief? Is it refusing to behave the way you expect? Take a deep breath -- everything will be fine. Here are some widely reported Kindle Fire problems and a few possible solutions to go with them.
Movies & TV

ESPN Plus is a great sports companion. Here's everything you need to know

ESPN's streaming service, ESPN Plus, arrived in 2018, but it isn't a replacement for your ESPN cable channels and it differs from other streaming apps in a few key ways. We answer all of your questions in this guide.
Emerging Tech

This guy managed to squeeze an entire game console into a Game Boy cartridge

Popular YouTuber 3DSage has managed to compress an entire mobile games console inside a single original Game Boy cartridge. Check it out in all in its impressively miniaturized glory.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s bipedal delivery robot can walk straight up to your doorstep

Autonomous wheeled delivery robots are seemingly everywhere in 2019. Agility Robotics' Digit robot takes a different approach: It promises to carry out its deliveries while walking on two legs.
Emerging Tech

Scientists use an X-ray laser to create the loudest possible underwater sound

Researchers from Stanford University and the Department of Energy have produced the loudest sound possible to make under water. Here's how they managed to create it — and why they did it.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Huawei updates, Starlink launch, and Pac-Man’s birthday

On this episode of DT Live, we discuss the ongoing Huawei saga, Amazon’s social games for workers, Ford's partnership with a robotics company, the Starlink satellite launch, Pac-Man’s birthday, and more.
Emerging Tech

Las Vegas officials bet big on Elon Musk’s Boring Company

Elon Musk’s Boring Company has just been awarded a $48.6 million contract by Las Vegas to build a high-speed transportation system beneath the city’s enormous convention center, and it could be ready by early 2020.
Emerging Tech

Airbus shows off the futuristic interior of its autonomous flying taxi

Airbus has given us the first look inside its single-seat flying taxi. The absence of controls in the Vahana electric aircraft is a reflection of its autonomous capabilities, so you can just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Emerging Tech

I mainlined a bag of liquid vitamins — for science

Healthy people are signing up for treatments that are typically saved for patients stuck in hospital beds. Known as nutrient IV therapy, the treatment entails pumping vitamins, minerals, and fluids directly into the bloodstream, bypassing…
Emerging Tech

Future smart clothes promise to keep you the perfect temperature at all times

Regulating your body temperature can sometimes be tough. Engineers from UC San Diego have developed heating and cooling wearable tech which could be embedded into future smart clothing.
Emerging Tech

Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa 2 aborts marker drop mission

The Hayabusa 2 spacecraft's mission to drop a reflective marker on the surface of asteroid Ryugu has been aborted. The Japanese team was considering a second touchdown on the asteroid to collect more materials, but this now seems unlikely.