Juice Jacking and the dangers of Public USB Charging Stations. Are you planning a trip? If so, it’s likely that you’ll bring along your cell phone or another portable device that will need recharging at some point. However, if your battery is low and you plan to use a free USB port charging station, such as those commonly found in airports and hotel lobbies, be aware that you could fall prey to “juice jacking” – a cyber-theft tactic.

Cybersecurity experts caution that cybercriminals can load malware onto public USB charging stations, which can be used to maliciously access electronic devices during the charging process. Malware installed through a corrupted USB port can lock your device, export personal data and passwords, and give criminals access to your online accounts, or even sell your information to other bad actors.

In some cases, criminals may intentionally leave infected cables plugged in at charging stations, and there have even been reports of infected cables being distributed as promotional gifts.

To protect yourself from becoming a victim of juice jacking, consider these tips:

  • Avoid using a public USB charging station. Use an AC power outlet instead.
  • Bring AC, car chargers, and your own USB cables with you when traveling.
  • Carry a portable charger or external battery.
  • Consider carrying a charging-only cable, which prevents data from sending or receiving while charging, from a trusted supplier.
  • If you plug your device into a USB port and a prompt appears asking you to select “share data” or “charge only,” always select “charge only.”

Travelers are vulnerable to cybercriminals who use public Wi-Fi networks to carry out their attacks. For additional information on how to safeguard your online and mobile phone security, you can refer to the consumer guide provided by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).: Wireless Connections and Bluetooth Security Tips

If you are concerned about your cybersecurity, contact us or read more about our services.