Juice Jacking – Is that phone charger safe?

Every time you use charge your mobile device from a public charging station, an Uber driver, or even a friend’s computer you’re putting your phone at risk of being hacked.

Juice Jacking – the process of hacking a phone during charging – is a very real threat that effects almost any phone, tablet, etc.  Because the power ports share the same cord as the data ports, when you charge your phone using a USB connected device (such as a computer, the USB outlet in a car, or potentially a public phone charging station) you give hackers the opportunity to access the data you’ve stored on the phone.

Fortunately, there are easy ways to protect yourself from this threat.

  1. Use an in-wall charger.  Using a standard two-pronged adapter ensures that you’re getting data right from “the wall”.  It isn’t connected to a computer, and doesn’t utilize the data port.
  2. Use a USB cigarette lighter adapter.  Rather than using the USB connection in the car, plug your phone cord into a USB cigarette lighter adapter and plug that into the cigarette lighter.  Like the in-wall charger, this does not allow data access.
  3. Use a portable charger.  Effectively a rechargeable battery block with a USB adapter, you charge these in the morning (from a trusted source – like a wall outlet) and have extra power at hand whenever you need it.
  4. Buy a data blocking power cord or USB adapter.  These are USB adapters and charge cords which have disabled the ability for data to pass through the cord, protecting you from hackers.  Some have the added benefit of offering “fast charging” – in laypersons terms taking the power that would have been used to support the data connection and using it for charging.If you’re industrious, you can modify your own USB cord to support data blocking.

Travel safely !

 

Sources:  Wikipedia, Krebs On Security

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