While the news tends to focus on epic hacks (like Sony in 2014), most hacking is far less dramatic. Indeed, your own laptop may be vulnerable to a method called a “Mousejack.” In short, for about 15 bucks, hackers can get a device that pretends to be a wireless mouse, and most wireless USB dongles will latch right on to it. Then, as CNET reports, hackers can have that “fake wireless mouse pretend to be a wireless keyboard—and start controlling someone else’s computer.”
With the help of a wireless USB antenna called a Crazyradio, hackers can be effective up to 200 meters, making it possible to “wipe a hard drive—or open a browser, navigate to a website, download malware, and install it on a computer.”
There is a simple security measure: use a wireless mouse with encryption. (Logitech announced they had come up with a software update to address the issue.)
To learn more about the Mousejack, click here. If you’re still not sufficiently paranoid about using your laptop in public, click here to read about “keysniffers,” another technique for stealing information from your computer that can be used by hackers in close physical proximity. Below, watch CNET‘s interview with a hacker turned FBI informant.