We all hate when we are out and about and realize our phone is dying, or worse, already dead. But before you plug it into a public charging station, be careful.
Hackers can easily load malware into charging stations – at places like airports, hotels and malls – that allows them to lock a device and steal data from unsuspecting users. The practice, known as “juice jacking,” occurs when people plug in to “juice” up their phones, and the malware in the charging station or USB cable “jacks” their information, including phone numbers and passwords.
When asked about the potential damage of juice jacking, LA County Deputy District Attorney Luke Sisak claimed, “You might have seen a public USB charging station at an airport or shopping center. But be warned, a free charge could end up draining your bank account.”
To avoid becoming the next victim of juice jacking:
- Use an AC power outlet instead to avoid any potential risks. When traveling, be sure to pack both AC and car chargers as well as your own USB cables.
- Carry an external battery.
- Travel with a charging-only cable, which prevents any data from being sent – or received – while charging.
- Beware of any prompts that ask you to select “share data” or “trust this computer” and unplug immediately.