(CNN) — You may want to think twice before sharing those flash drives with someone.
New research shows the USB port on your computer can be directly used to steal your information or infect your computer.
The news comes to us from a team of German researchers who found that anything connected via USB can be reprogrammed to do real damage to your data.
What kind of damage? Let’s say you use someone else’s flash drive and plug it into your USB port, it can be used to take control of your laptop.
It can also pose as a network card and reroute your Internet use so someone can spy on what you are doing. That opens you up to identity theft, bank fraud and extortion.
The researchers from SR Labs in Germany discovered the problem and say it can also happen if someone charges their Android device using your computer’s USB port.
So for now, you might want to go against the advice we tell our kids. No sharing, at least when it comes to flash drives and smartphone-charging on your computer.