Public USB ports and third-party charger cables: never use to charge your mobile phone

Public USB ports and third-party charger cables: never use to charge your mobile phone

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Travelling can be an exciting adventure. To avoid dicey situations, good preparation is vital. This article introduces you to juice jacking and explains why you should never charge your smartphone at an airport-based USB port.


It can be very tempting: you are sitting comfortably in the departure hall, waiting for your boarding call. The perfect time to recharge your smartphone to enjoy the latest series or audio books on your long-haul flight. But behind the practical USB charging sockets at the airports, there can be a hidden danger.


Besides charging your phone, USB ports also load data onto your smartphone

The deceptive thing about the USB port: besides providing the mobile phone with electricity, it also supports data transmission. The smartphone is therefore vulnerable to malware, spyware or data theft from your photos or passwords. Since the charging stations are public, you never know who may have tampered with the USB port beforehand. Technically, this is known as juice jacking.

Caleb Barlow, Internet security expert at IBM Internet Security Systems, doesn't mince his words in an interview: “Charging your phone on a public USB port is like using a toothbrush you just found in the street."
Modern smartphones now ask when charging via USB whether to permit access to the phone data. Even if you deny access, this protection may not be sufficient. Therefore, always charge your smartphone using a power supply (adapter) or via a power bank and stay on the safe side.


Always use your own USB cable

Third-party charger cables also pose a potential risk. Modified USB charging cables can access your computer or smartphone and cause damage. Therefore, avoid using a charging cable from an unknown or dubious source. Be wary of giveaways too: fraudsters can easily print a malicious charging cable with an authentic-looking brand logo.


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