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Public Phone Charging Stations: Safe or Dangerous?

 

INTRODUCTION

In airports and malls, public phone charging stations are a popular feature that allows people to charge their phone in a more convenient way without having to do this elsewhere. However, these public stations have faced criticism in recent years- especially in regards to cybersecurity. In fact, the FBI recently encouraged Americans to not use public phone charging stations.

 

Public Phone Charging Stations: Safe?

There has been no widespread evidence that proves public phone charging stations are being used by bad actors to steal information on other users, and some experts in cybersecurity have yet to find any evidence to verify these claims. However, at the BlackHat Cybersecurity Conference, researchers found that malicious USB ports can be used to compromise phones. Samsung phones have also been known to be vulnerable according to a 2016 research study when it comes to public USB ports. 

 

The Dangers

The FBI stated that public USB stations are being used by hackers to monitor users’ software data and collect information on them. When a device is plugged into a public electric outlet, their device has a high chance of becoming infected as hackers can use this data for their own advantages as there is no limit to how much information can be compromised. Many experts recommend folks to bring their own chargers to be cautionary for their own good. 

 

CONCLUSION

While there have been no factual stories on hackers using public charging stations to compromise users’ data, it is still important to play it safe. Try to avoid using public charging stations for your own safety. You never know when your data can be compromised by hackers. Bring your own charger with you to keep yourself safe. Do not rely on USB ports to charge your phone as malware can easily interfere to cause disruption. If you are using a USB port, get a USB Condom Cord. This type of cord will only allow electric power to go through the phone and will help block any other suspicious activity from arising. 

                                           Moral of the Story: Play it Safe. You Never Know What Can Happen

SOURCES

https://www.aarp.org/home-family/personal-technology/info-2023/public-charging-protection.html

https://www.cnn.com/2023/04/12/tech/fbi-public-charging-port-warning/index.html

https://www.vox.com/technology/2023/9/1/23850809/public-phone-charging-station-juice-jacking-airport-battery-fbi

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