Sneak remembers his first cigarette, a rather clichéd affair involving bike sheds, peer pressure and no shortage of coughing. He decided that putting tubes of burning paper and dried leaves into his mouth was not for him.

Ever since then Sneak has been the one who looks after people’s coats at the pub. But apparently, smoking can be quite moreish.

[box type=”info”]This article, originally published on ‘IT Sneak’, a blog featured on V3.co.uk, is a  part of our Industry News Highlights series, making sure our readers see the most popular Privacy, Security, Compliance and Information Risk Management news each week.[/box]

For those that may not be familiar with e-cigarettes:

Sir Walter Raleigh fans who aren’t in denial about the warnings liberally plastered over tobacco packaging, electronic cigarettes offer a nicotine vapour-fuelled alternative to a tar-filled respiratory system.

Having originally thought that e-cigarettes were simply smoking apparatus from Yorkshire, Sneak decided to do a little more research into the subject.

To his surprise, while e-cigarettes are better for a smoker’s health, it turns out they are not so good for the faithful PC or laptop that has the duty of charging the contemporary cigarettes.

According to a report on Reddit, some e-cigarettes appear to contain malware that can be inhaled by PCs and laptops when plugged into a USB port to charge.One user who claims to be “an IT guy” detailed a data breach story at a “large corporation” where a seemingly secured computer was infected with malware from an unknown source.

The IT team went into Sherlock mode and eventually deduced that the malware came from a Chinese e-cigarette. Apparently the malware had been hard-coded into the charger, making like E.T. and phoning home to infect the system once it was plugged into a USB port. While fellow Reddit users piled in with opinions, the consensus was to avoid charging e-cigarettes via USB and to stick to wall chargers.

Sneak would have suggested that smokers try the cold turkey route instead, but thought this might prompt some confusion with Christmas just round the corner.

E-cigarettes are not the first seemingly mundane items to contain hidden malware;

Digital photo-frames, MP3 players and other USB-enabled devices have been known to harbour viruses that can exploit poorly protected networks. Ever the conspiracy theorist, Sneak believes this may be the first stage of a Chinese invasion, where every e-cigarette smoker is an unwitting sleeper agent swathed in malware and nicotine vapour.

He’s even taken to keeping a weather eye on Mrs Sneak’s cat, Chairman Meow, who has been acting strangely ever since Mrs Sneak started Mandarin language classes.

Read the original article here.

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