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Xiaomi 65W GaN charger can be hacked, company stops selling it in China

A vulnerability has been reported in Xiaomi's 65W GaN charging adapter that puts devices at risk. Xiaomi has stopped selling the charger for now.

twitter-logoAmritanshu Mukherjee | April 20, 2020 | Updated 16:44 IST

Highlights

  • Xiaomi has stopped selling the 65W fast charger in China owing to a new vulnerability.
  • The charger can be hacked, leading to higher voltage damaging the devices.
  • Xiaomi does not sell the 65W GaN charger in India.

Xiaomi is one of the very few companies in the world that makes 65W charging systems for its phones and other devices. In China, you can buy a 65W fast charging adapter from Xiaomi that can fill up batteries on select phones and laptops quite fast. However, the technology Xiaomi is relying on to make the fast charging safe has been proven to be vulnerable to hackers, leading Xiaomi to stop its sale in China.

According to a report from Chinese website Tech Sina, a third-party security company has found a vulnerability in its 65W GaN charger. The issue could theoretically lead hackers to get into the system and damage the connected devices with high voltage. The Gallium Nitride based charger used a rewritable eFlash chip to solve issues with the system and update the charging protocols. It is this rewritable chip that can be hacked into damaging devices.

Xiaomi has currently pulled off the charger from the Chinese market in order to avoid further sales. However, those who already have bought the charger need not worry. Xiaomi says that most of the devices supporting the 65W charging speeds have an overvoltage protection system built-in. Hence, if your charger is compromised, the phone's safety systems will cut-in and stop the charging once it detects higher than usual voltage flow.

It is still unknown as to when Xiaomi will release an updated model of the 65W charger. The second fastest charging system from Xiaomi is the 30W system that is present in the Mi 10 series. Xiaomi also has a 33W fast-charging system for limited phones such as the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max and the Poco X2.

In the smartphone market, the battle for developing fast charging systems has intensified. Oppo and Xiaomi are neck-to-neck in this duel, with Oppo currently offering a commercial smartphone with a 65W fast charging system. Oppo's subsidiary Realme has led the charge in India with its 50W fast wired charging system on the Realme X2 Pro. OnePlus, which is also part of the same group, has mastered a proprietary 30W wireless charging system.

As for Xiaomi's 65W system, you cannot buy it in India as none of the phones it sells support that format of fast charging. However, that could change with the upcoming Mi 10 series, which is expected to be launched once the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted. The Mi 10 by default supports 30W fast wired and wireless charging but it can also make use of the 65W fast charger.

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Tags: Xiaomi | Redmi
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