Juice Jacking Steals Data When You Least Expect It
You’re down to one bar on your phone battery. And you’re scrambling for anywhere to plug up. But look out for juice jacking & protect private data and phone.
But with new conveniences, often new risks present themselves. It’s hard to anticipate them because we’re in new territory. And sometimes you have to think like a criminal to identify them. But as we become aware of them, we must take steps to protect ourselves. Juice jacking may be one of those threats.
What Is Juice Jacking?
If you have multiple devices like iPhone and Macbook Pro, chances are that you’ve connected those devices via USB to transfer data. It’s so convenient. Just plug the device in via the USB charging cable.
But you use that same cable to charge your phone. So, for the convenience of customers, today, you can find juicing stations (charging stations) in many businesses like an airport, cruise ships, gyms, or restaurants.
But here’s where the potential of juice jacking occurs. While I’m charging my phone on a random USB port, additionally, someone can transfer data to or from my phone via that same cable.
They could steal my personal information. Or they could transfer malware to my phone to monitor my activity. This has prompted some cities to warn residents about carelessly using juicing stations.
How Could Juice Jacking Happen?
It’s unknown how much juice jacking happens. But the risk is there. There are many ways it could happen.
A shady company could lease compromised stations to a business unaware. Someone at a store could attach a device or alter the station so that it transfers data.
How to Protect Yourself
- Avoid juicing stations unless you’re confident they’re safe.
- Look for signage at places you trust, like airports. Many airports, but not all, are taking extra precautions and will have a sign telling you they’re guaranteed safe.
- Bring your wall adapter, so you don’t have to directly plug the USB into something unknown.
- Disable USB data transfer on your phone.
- Consider apps that protect against data security risk, but make sure they’re trustworthy.
- Monitor your own employee juicing stations to ensure they’re not compromised.
- Buy a portable charger for travel. These battery packs are very affordable now and can charge most phones two to three times before they have to be recharged. Charge your portable charger at the juicing station instead of your phone directly.
Ultimately, it’s essential to assess your risks with each new technology that hits the market. And don’t let the pursuit of convenience cloud your judgment. To stay informed about technology innovations and security risks like these, follow my blog.