If you have a cell phone, you want to know about this!
Free public charging stations – you see them everywhere. From malls to airports, it’s a quick and convenient way to power up your phone’s battery – right? Well, apparently plugging in could cost you big in the long run.
What is it?
The scam is called juice jacking. It’s a type of cyber attack involving a charging port that doubles as a data connection. Plug in to juice your phone and a hacker could use that connection to jack your personal information.
Common sense should tell most of us that if a free-standing charging station is setup in an open setting, something is up. But we’re not always smart when our cell phone battery life is low. A free charge could end up draining your bank account. Hackers can watch and record everything on your cell phone screen in real time, so charger beware.
Safety tips to prevent your personal information from being stolen
- Use common sense. If a charging station is just sitting out in the open (not even mounted down to the ground), that’s a red flag. Someone is probably sitting nearby waiting for you to plug-in, so they can remotely hack your device and duplicate your screen.
- When you plug your device in, you shouldn’t see anything strange on your screen. If you do and it’s out of the norm, stop and disconnect immediately.
- Use a wall outlet charger. This is the best way to charge your phone. No information can be transmitted this way and it’s just for power.
- Buy a portable charger. They are inexpensive and you can take it with you.
- If a charging station question pops up asking you for permission to access your data, say NO. It will still charge without granting access to your personal information.