So you’re waiting at the airport for a plane, and you notice your phone is low on power. You spot a charging station nearby and plug in to the handy USB port for a quick top-up on your juice. Within seconds, a hacker has stolen your contacts and photos and downloaded spyware on your phone.
As it turns out, those common public USB ports can be secretly modified by hackers and laced with spy software, and when you connect to them with your USB cord to your phone or other device, it can not only transfer power, but spyware too. In fact, it can even lock up your phone entirely.
This risk dubbed as “juice jacking” can lurk in all public places; coffee shops, inside airplanes, hospitals, and even rental cars.
What criminals are doing is they are hacking your phone either through their own wires they leave dangling in the USB ports which have malware on them, or they have replaced the actual USB port in the public area with their own. These own USB ports of theirs act like a skimmer, so that when you plug in your phone it will pull all your personal information off it.
The good news is that it is actually very easy to protect your device. The easiest fix is to always use an AC adapter when charging your phone, so you can plug it into an electrical socket. This will ensure that only power enters your device, not a hacker.
You can also get an external charger or a power only USB cable that does not transfer data. In a rental car, you can use an electrical charger that plugs into an electrical port, or a cigarette lighter.
Cyberthreats find their ways into all nooks and crannies of our lives. In the case of juice jacking, just being aware of the threat and how to bypass it is all you need to avoid getting juice jacked.
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