Humans have evolved a new body part: the cell phone. One day it will be part of anatomical illustrations of the body in health and medical books probably an appendage on your head. I’m not a Dr. so don’t quote me.
For now, we have to figure out a way to keep this appendage juiced up without being lured into a data-sucking battery-charge station.
There’s even a name for this kind of crime: juice jacking. The kiosk is designed to appear like a legitimate battery charging station, when in fact, it will steal your phone’s data while it’s hooked up.
Worse yet, sometimes the thief will set the station to deposit malware into your phone. The crook will then have access to all the sensitive information and images that you have on the device.
These fraudulent stations are often set up at locations where users would be in a rush and won’t have time to check around for signs of suspicion or even think about the possibility of getting their personal life transferred out of their phone and into the hands of a stranger.
Are these thieves smart or what?
But you can be smarter.
Prevent Juice Jacking
- Before leaving your house, make sure your phone is fully charged if possible.
- Buy a second charger that stays with you or in your car at all times, and make a habit of keeping your phone charged while you drive.
- Of course, there will be times when you’re out and about, and before you realize it, your device has gotten low on power. And it’s time to hunt for a public charging station.
- Have a cord with you at all times. This will enable you to use a wall socket.
- Turn off your phone to save batt. But for many people, this will not happen, so don’t just rely only on that tactic.
- Plug your phone directly into a public socket whenever you can.
- If you end up using the USB attachment at the station, make a point of viewing the power source. A hidden power source is suspicious.
- If bringing a cord with you everywhere is too much of a hassle, did you know you can buy a power-only USB cord on which it’s impossible for any data to be transferred?
- Another option is an external battery pack. This will supply an addition of power to your device.
- External batteries, like the power-only USB cord, do not have data transfer ability, and thus can be used at any kiosk without the possibility of a data breach.
- Search “optimize battery settings” iPhone or Android and get to work.
Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.