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This flaw lets attackers take over your PC through your wireless mouse

If it’s a non-Bluetooth mouse, you might want to check for updates when you get the chance.

Image: Shutterstock/Sergey Ryzhov

WHEN YOU THINK of hacking or attacks, it usually concerns breaking into PCs and devices directly, but a new method could see the same thing happening through an indirect route.

Research from security company Bastille Networks found how someone could access your computer by going through your non-Bluetooth wireless mouse. The researchers didn’t find any problems with Bluetooth mice or wireless keyboards, the latter tend to be encrypted anyway.

Calling it ‘MouseJack’, the issue concerns the USB dongle which is used to communicate with the mouse, and concerns products from seven different companies.

Since the connection isn’t encrypted, the dongle will accept any command that may seem valid. If an attacker is within 100 metres of the computer and is using a cheap dongle, they can intercept it and transmit data to it.

By pairing a keyboard with the dongle, they can effectively do the same thing as if they had physical access to the computer such as transferring files or downloading a virus onto it.

If you own a wireless mouse that doesn’t use Bluetooth, the research team recommends downloading any updates your mouse software may have available before using it again. If you don’t have a mouse that can be updated, the best thing is to plug it out entirely and use a wired mouse instead.

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