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A Thunderbolt flaw puts you at risk for local hacking – here’s how to check if you are affected

Just don’t leave your computer unattended and you should be ok.

thunderbolt ports on computer
Image: PCWorld

If your computer uses Thunderbolt ports then bad news, as it is possible that your ports are vulnerable to hackers and there is literally nothing you can really do about it. Thankfully, the hack has to be local, so that should help keep the threat low. Just maybe don’t leave your laptop out at the coffee shop, ok? Also, don’t plug in strange devices that you aren’t sure about.

According to Thunderspy and researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology, this flaw is at the hardware level and cannot simply be patched. It can affect Windows, Linux, and macOS systems between 2011 and 2020. While there may be nothing you can do to fix the issues with the Thunderbolt ports, you can at least keep abreast of the situation to see if it is something you have to worry about by checking the status of your computer’s ports.

You can do this using Thunderspy’s free tool and we’ll show you how below.

How to use Thunderspy to check on the status of your Thunderbolt ports

If you want to check on your Thunderbolt ports, we’ll show you how to do that on Windows. Sadly, at this time, it is not available for macOS.

  1. Head to the Thunderspy website and download the appropriate version
  2. It will be a Zip file, extract it to your preferred location
  3. Open up Thunderspy from the extracted folder

    thunderbolt thunderspy how-to

    Image: KnowTechie

  4. After opening the program (you may get a Windows alert) choose the correct port option

    thunderbolt thunderspy app

    Image: KnowTechie

  5.  Click Next and Thunderspy will check your system for vulnerabilities

That’s it, that’s how you check the security of your Thunderbolt plugs on your Windows machine. If you are on Linux, you’ll need to download the Linux tool from the website, open up the command terminal, and use “$ sudo python3 spycheck.py” with root privileges to run the check.

What do you think? Worried about local hacking? Plan on using this tool? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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