Your phone’s on two percent battery and you’re stuck at the airport due to a delayed flight, when you see your saving grace—a free charging station at the gate! We’ve all been there, and we’ve all used them, especially while traveling, but you probably didn’t think twice about plugging in. Well, you should.
“Juice-jacking” as the new travel scam is called, targets desperate travelers in need of a charge. Daniel Smith, a security researcher at Radware explains how this works. “Attackers can use fake charging stations to trick unsuspecting users into plugging in their device. Once the device is plugged in the user’s data and photos could be downloaded or malware can be written onto the device.”
Hackers can download anything that is on your phone since the charging port is doubling as a data port. We’re talking passwords, emails, photos, messages, and even banking and other personal information via apps.
How to Prevent Juice-Jacking
“Don’t use public charging stations. If you are a heavy mobile user, bring an external battery pack so you can avoid risking your device’s privacy at a charging station,” suggests Smith.
Here are some thin and lightweight external batteries that are easy to travel with:
He also recommends plugging into your laptop to charge your phone if you’re traveling with one and don’t have an external charger. And, if you find yourself always on low battery and relying on public charging stations, there are products out there that will protect your phone data while charging in public spots.
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