Orlando, Fla.—It’s a common problem nowadays, you are in constant use of your cellphone for basically everything, from calls and texts, to emails, camera, and GPS. At some point during the day, you may need to recharge that battery, and you will find yourself on a day when you don’t have a phone charger of your own, at hand.
Public charging stations and wi-fi access points are easily available in public places like airports, planes, conference centers and parks. But connecting your phone to one of those port may come with its risks.
According to cybersecurity experts, as of 2019 borrowing a charger may be a huge mistake. The reason is simple, by plugging your phone into a borrowed power strip or charger, your device could get infected, and that compromises all your data. Since cyber hackers have figured out how to implant charging cables with malware that can remotely hijack devices and computers, companies and individuals need to be less trusting of third-party charging cables.
The following two terms “Juice jacking” and “Video jacking” may not necessarily sound familiar to you but they refer to real threat that you may potentially need to deal with anytime in the near future. The first, Juice Jacking is ability to hijack stored data when the user unwittingly plugs his phone into a custom USB charging station filled with computers that are ready to suck down and record said data (both Android and iOS phones now ask users whether they trust the computer before allowing data transfers). The second, Video Jacking, video jacking lets the attacker record every key and finger stroke the user makes on the phone, so that the owner of the evil charging station can later replay a video of everything you tap, type or view on it as long as it’s plugged in — including PINs, passwords, account numbers, emails, texts, pictures and videos pressed on the smart phone. Video jacking is a problem for users of HDMI-ready phones mainly because it’s very difficult to tell a USB cord that merely charges the phone versus one that also taps the phone’s video-out capability.
What you can do to prevent these types of felonies:
- Avoid the use of a public charging station.
- Don’t borrow charging cables
- Carry an extra charging dock for your mobile device when you travel.
- Check the settings of your mobile and see if it allows you to disable screen mirroring. Note that even if you do this, the mirroring capability might not actually turn off.
- Get a portable power bank.
We know this information can be a little overwhelming sometimes, and our objective is not to make you paranoid, but to reassure you that by being careful, you can significantly reduce your vulnerability. The are plenty of technology solutions in the market right now, both in-store and online -- like the fast charging cable or a portable power bank—at a great variety of styles and designs and very reasonable prices that for sure will be worthy of your peace of mind.