Public Mobile Charging Stations: Hackers May Steal Your Data

The charging station could be configured to download your photos, contacts, email attachments, and other data.

Smartphone charging points which you commonly see at malls or hotels have recently drawn a lot of attention because of the wrong reasons. You could have never imagined that something as harmless as a public charging point for smartphones could be a hub for hackers to steal your data.

Researchers at security firm Kaspersky Labs have found that hackers can instal malicious malware and viruses into your smartphones via the USB cable you use to charge your phone.

During the research they also discovered that information like device name, manufacturer, type, serial number could also be hacked.

This whole process is referred to as ‘Juice Jacking’, a term coined back in 2011.

The hackers can easily link your phone to another device which can mirror/copy everything that you do on your phone.

The charging station could be configured to download your photos, contacts, email attachments, and other data, right through your data port.

Should You Worry?

Although, currently ‘juice jacking’ is largely a theoretical threat, it does not mean that the users should be careless and ignore a potential security breach. Usually the charging stations at airports are safe due to additional security there but the same at malls and in the open cannot be trusted.

Ways to Avoid Juice Jacking

  • Keep your phone fully charged
  • Carry a personal charger/power bank
  • Lock your phone while charging
  • Power the phone down while charging
  • Charge via trusted cables and ports
  • Update your phone to latest firmware

One cannot avoid certain situations and the public charging station is the last resort.

While using it, keep a vigilant eye out for any inconsistencies with your phone and follow the above steps to avoid any theft of your data.

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