The FBI has recently warned people on its social networks not to use charging stations that are located in public places.
This warning, while for the United States initially, is causing fear in more territories. But why is the agency making these communications?
According to the FBIcriminals have succeeded in hijacking public chargers that can infect devices with malware or software that can give hackers access to your phone, tablet or computer.
“Avoid using free charging stations at airports, hotels or shopping malls,” said a tweet from the local office of the FBI In Denver. “Bad actors have figured out ways to use public USB ports to insert malware and monitoring software on the devices.”
A typical USB connector has five pins; while one is needed for charging, two are reserved for data transfers. This is where someone can infect your device or steal sensitive data using the USB port.
This technique has been categorized as. Juice Jacking.
“Think twice before plugging your phone into charging stations. The malware could find a way to log in and infect your phone, allowing hackers to steal your passwords and export your data,” State Bank of India (SBI) tweeted to its customers in 2019.
How to avoid this problem?
The agency recommends that all users, should they have this need, carry their own charger and USB cable and use a power outlet instead.
Do not leave your phone unattended while plugged in in a public place, which makes it vulnerable to attack and theft. Ideally, carry a portable battery for such situations.
If your phone runs out of power and the only option is to use a public charging station, you should use a USB data jammer with which you only plug in the charging pin and lock out, redundantly, the rest.
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