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Experts find security flaw in Thunderbolt connections

Thunderbolt port can be identified by a lightning bolt symbol near the entrance; it is also worth consulting the device manual to find out if the technology is in your cell phone or computer

Thunderbolt port can be identified by a lightning bolt symbol near the entrance; it is also worth consulting the device manual to find out if the technology is in your cell phone or computer

Security researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology, at Netherlands, discovered vulnerabilities in physical ports that contain Thunderbolt technology, created by Intel and present in some types of USB connections, for example. According to the American magazine Wired, the flaws affect all technology-supported computers that have been manufactured until 2019. With the flaw, hackers who have physical access to the devices could take advantage of the breach to invade and steal computer data, for example.

According to the discovery, data can be collected in minutes from the Thunderbolt port. Access must be physical, that is, with the connection of a cable and not remotely, but experts warn that the failure can reach computers that are locked with a password and even have their hard disk encrypted.

The biggest concern of experts is the repair of this flaw. According to the study, the vulnerability cannot be fixed in the software, only in a new hardware model. Since 2011, computers and notebooks from Apple has used the Thunderbolt connection on its devices. The Thunderbolt port is a technology developed by Intel, which allows data transmission between devices, similarly to USB connections, with more speed.

As with USB technology, Thunderbolt has undergone updates for improvements and, currently, its most current version Thunderbolt 3 has a connector compatible with USB-C inputs. Generally, a small radius next to the USB-C port and at the end of the connector cable indicates support for Thunderbolt technology.

According to Intel, this flaw was already known and that the necessary updates have already been applied to new devices since last year, but Wired claims that the solution has not been applied to all devices.

To disable the Thunderbolt technology on computers, it is necessary to access the Basic Input and Output System, the BIOS and enable hard disk encryption.