Public Phone Charging

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Mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and other personal electronic devices have become ubiquitous, as well as part of people’s daily life. Likewise, public phone charging and Wi-Fi stations have begun popping up around common places like restaurants, airports, sports pavilions, etc. Because there are such essential facilities available, people don’t bother to carry their own charger and USB cord.

Since 2021, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has warned about the dangers of “juice jacking” malware in public USB charging stations.

Recently, FBI has also cautioned the public about the dangers of malware in the public USB charging stations and recommend taking caution while using public charging stations.

  • Be careful when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network and do not conduct any sensitive transactions, including purchases, when on a public network.
  • 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 that access these ports. Carry your own charger and USB cord and use an electrical outlet instead.

Quoting the recent public warning from the FBI, CNBC News writes “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. Carry your own charger and USB cord and use an electrical outlet instead.”

“Consumer devices with compromised USB cables can be hijacked through software that can then siphon off usernames and passwords, the FCC warned at the time. The commission told consumers to avoid those public stations.”