The FBI and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have both warned against using public charging stations, saying that hackers can use them to infect devices with malware.
The FBI’s Denver office tweeted last week, “Avoid using free charging stations in airports, hotels, or shopping centers. Bad actors have figured out ways to use public USB ports to introduce malware and monitoring software onto devices”
The FCC has also warned about “juice jacking,” as the malware attack is known. Malware installed through a compromised USB port can lock a device or export personal data and passwords to the hacker, the FCC said. Hackers can then access online accounts or sell the information to others.
To avoid juice jacking, the FCC advises you to use an AC power outlet, carry your own USB cable when you travel, and carry a portable charger or external battery. The FCC also recommends carrying a charging-only cable that prevents data from sending or receiving while charging.
Here are some additional tips to protect yourself from juice jacking:
– Be wary of public charging stations that are not in well-lit or supervised areas.
– If you must use a public charging station, use a USB cable that you know is secure.
– Keep your device’s operating system and security software up to date.
– Use a password manager to protect your online accounts.
– Be careful about what information you share online.