In today’s fast-paced world, staying connected is more important than ever. We rely on our smartphones and other devices to keep us in touch with family, friends, and work. As a result, we’re always on the lookout for convenient ways to charge our devices when we’re out and about. Public USB charging stations in airports, hotels, and shopping centers can seem like a lifesaver in these moments. However, a recent tweet from the FBI’s Denver office suggests that these charging stations may not be as safe as we thought.
The tweet, which can be found here, warns that “bad actors have figured out ways to use public USB ports to introduce malware and monitoring software onto devices.” In other words, connecting your device to a public charging station could expose it to cyber threats.
This type of attack, known as “juice jacking,” involves tampering with USB charging stations or cables to gain unauthorized access to your device. Once the malware or monitoring software is installed, cybercriminals can access your personal data, track your location, and even remotely control your device.
To protect your devices from such threats, the FBI recommends avoiding public USB charging stations altogether. Instead, carry your own charger and USB cord, and use an electrical outlet whenever possible. This will significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to juice jacking.
If you must use a public charging station, consider investing in a USB data blocker, also known as a “USB condom.” These small devices fit between your charging cable and the USB port, physically blocking the data pins and preventing any data transfer between the charging station and your device. This allows you to charge your device safely without risking a malware infection.