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Charging Mobile Anywhere Can Prove to be Dangerous.

ifrah tasneem
2 years ago

No matter how good and expensive a smartphone you have today, it is becoming difficult to prevent the data present in the mobile from being stolen. Often people leave the house after fully charging the smartphone. But on seeing the USB charging port present in public places such as train, bus station, metro, airport etc., you put your phone or laptop in charging so that the battery can accompany you during the journey. But let me tell you that this method can also cause high financial loss someday.

Charging the phone by putting it in such a USB port is proving dangerous for people these days. With this, hackers can steal the phone's data or even get the banking details and empty the account. The USB cable is not only helpful for charging, but it also transfers the phone's data. But people are probably unaware that when they are charging their phone from the USB charging port, at the same time, hackers also copy the data from the phone or install malware. This technique of data theft is called Juice Jacking. Through this, data is copied from smartphone, tablet or computer device such that users are not even aware of it.

How does Juice Jacking work?

USB ports are often used as a medium of data transfer. It can also open the option to transfer files between devices when users charge the device through the USB port. For this, hackers often use off-the-shelf hardware that is easy to install in the charging port of a public charging board. It is specifically designed to breach security and access information about connected devices. With the help of this technique, you don't even know about the data stolen. The data includes everything from the phone's contact list, photo gallery to all files, WhatsApp chats etc.

What could be the damage?

Recently, SBI had issued a warning to the people about this deadly mobile malware through Twitter. Think twice before plugging your phone into charging stations. Malware can find a way to infect your phone. After this, hackers can export the data along with stealing the password from the phone. Not only this, but the Los Angeles County District Office of the US also issued a video warning about the USB charger scam. In the video, Deputy District Attorney Luke Sisak said that a free charger could destroy your bank account.

Data Stealing

Juice Jacking leads to the theft of data from the connected device. Hackers can search your phone for personally identifiable information (PII) means account credentials, banking related data, credit card data etc. These hackers can copy all the information on their device. There are many apps these days that can clone all the data from your phone to another phone.

Malware installation

Once a connection is established, the malware is automatically installed on the connected device. Malware remains in the devices until users detect it and remove it. Adware, Crypto Miners, Ransomware, Spyware, Trojans are some software cybercriminals can install through juice jacking.

Can this be avoided?

  • The best way to avoid juice jacking fraud is to avoid charging your device from charging ports in public places. If the phone needs charging immediately, plug your charger directly into the electric port without the charging kiosk's USB cable.
  • You can take the power bank with you when you are travelling. It allows you to avoid charging on a public port. Note that even high-security areas like airports are not always secure.
  • One must be alert everywhere. However, hacked USB ports are less likely in high-security areas. But there's no guarantee that the charging kiosks at airports won't have tampered with because juice jacking chargers can install faster. It is difficult to detect it later.
  • Most juice jacking fraud is due to phone cable use. So don't buy cheap cables as they can prove expensive later.
  • Don't manipulate your operating system, as it can make your device vulnerable. Avoid installing pirated software and media, as there is a possibility of getting viruses.
  • Try to use your own AC charging adapter and cable. By doing this, you can keep the information on your device safe.

Don't ignore these things!

  • Most of the operating systems have in-built features to warn the users. When a device gets to plug into a computer, a pop-up will appear asking whether you want to transfer data or charge the device. Give attention to such pop-ups and do not accept any message without reading it.
  • To avoid juice jacking, you can use Data Blocker, a small USB device that looks like a pen drive. The Data Blocker disables the wires that carry the data.
  • Nowadays, most public places have charging kiosks But if you are charging your phone through the charging port present in these places, keep the data transfer off.
  • If you need to charge in a public place, it is better to turn off the device and load it. It can prevent any theft.
  • Keep in mind that while charging the phone, connect your mobile to the AC wall socket and not the USB wall socket. With this, you can avoid the possibility of data saving.
  • Avoid charging any of your electronic devices, such as phones, tablets, etc., from the laptop or computer of an unknown person.

Remember that antivirus can provide additional protection, but it will not be helpful when it comes to juice jacking. However, if a cybercriminal tries to install malware on the phone, an antivirus app can stop it. So the next time you travel, take your charger and power bank with you.


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