Think twice before plugging your phone or device into the USB charging stations in public places.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is warning travelers that criminals may set up USB charging stations to infect devices with malware. When you plug in (even using your own cables) these stations download malware that could lock your device or export data and passwords directly to the scammer.
This practice is known as “juice jacking” and could be particularly prevalent in airports, hotels, and even shopping malls.
No one knows exactly how common this scam is, but given the source of this warning, you should probably think twice before plugging in to a public charging station.
How to stay safe
How-to Geek and the L.A. County DA suggest:
- Charge before you leave the house. Admittedly this is a “no duh” piece of advice but, given the potential risk of this scam, maybe make more an effort to fill up your battery.
- Get a personal charger. Bring the juice with you in the form of a personal charger. Some need to be charged in advance but some will even take AA batteries (easily buyable in an airport).
- Bring your own AC power/USB adapter. Make your own charging station on the go by using your own equipment.
Top image: Ashoka Jegroo