We’ve all been there – running low on battery while out and about, desperately searching for an available power outlet or USB port to plug in our mobile devices. But before you reach that convenient public charging station, you might want to think twice. A new cyberattack called “juice jacking” could be lurking, ready to steal your personal data while you charge.
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. pic.twitter.com/1GjXS8icrs
— FBI Las Vegas (@FBILasVegas) April 11, 2023
Juice jacking is a cyberattack that occurs when a threat actor modifies a public charging station with malware or monitoring software to access and steal data from mobile devices. The attacker gains access by manipulating the USB port that users plug their devices into, allowing for the transmission of both power and data.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently issued a warning about juice jacking and its potential to carry out a silent cyberattack against your mobile device. The FBI has also warned of the risk, advising users to avoid using free charging stations in public areas.
But how does juice jacking work, and how can you protect yourself from this new form of cyberattack? BlackBerry Senior Director of Cyber Threat Intelligence Dmitry Bestuzhev explains that when it comes to public charging stations, there is usually a computer or smart device behind them that is connected to the USB charging cables to provide electricity and access data. A threat actor behind a malicious charging station can exploit this connection to steal personal data or install malicious code on your device.
So, what can you do to reduce the risk of juice jacking? Bestuzhev recommends using a standard AC socket for charging whenever possible, rather than a USB port. He also advises using a data blocker, which is a small, inexpensive device that prevents data transmission to or from your device while still allowing for electric charging.
In addition to these precautions, the FCC Advisory on juice jacking suggests bringing your own external charging device, selecting “charge only” when prompted while plugging your device into a USB port, and using a charging-only cable to prevent data transmission while charging.
Juice jacking is a new form of cyberattack that could drain your devices and steal your personal data. By taking a few simple precautions, you can protect yourself and your devices from this threat while still enjoying the convenience of public charging stations.
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