You’ve just battled your way through an invasive TSA pat down and are looking forward to relaxing for a few moments at the boarding gate before you get stuffed on a tiny plane.
Your phone battery is low and you forgot your charger, but luckily there is a USB port at the airport – so you plug in your phone eager to get a charge.
What you might not realize is you’ve just been hacked.
USB Ports Are Not Safe To Use
Hackers want to steal your stuff. They’re smart.
Remember, hackers are smarter at being hackers than you are at being a hacker.
Bad people in this world exist. They steal stuff.
Hackers know an airport is a prime location to suck out all the data from unsuspecting travelers who plug in their phones desperate to get a quick charge.
Think about all the information you have on your phone right now – imagine if it was stolen.
And with holiday travel coming up, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office tweeted out a warning of the latest scam called “juice jacking” where hackers can use malware to steal your stuff if you plug your phone directly into a USB port.
ABC 13 reported:
“It loads itself into the phone and can either monitor the phone in real time, sometimes download information from the phone, sometimes clone the phone completely and you don’t even have to be using it,” said Deputy District Attorney Luke Sisak.”
And there’s no telling how much damage the malware could do. From stealing your passwords (probably saved to your phone) to even downloading all your data right into the hands of thieves.
Avoid using USB ports directly at all costs.
And yes, the same goes for the USB ports on the plane. You have no idea who plugged what into those ports.
Could it be free of malware?
Sure, it could.
But it’s not worth the risk.
Bring Your Own Charger
This might sound like a no-brainer – but don’t forget to pack your charger.
You can avoid all of this drama if you simply plug your phone into a regular AC power outlet.
And it should go without saying, but you never know what can happen at the airport.
There may be no outlets available. Your flight might get delayed or canceled.
So always make sure your phone is 100 percent charged before you even step foot in the airport.
Other Helpful Tips
If you are a frequent traveler, it’s probably smart to invest in a portable charging device. This way you’ll never have to worry about strategically sitting around an outlet just to charge your phone.
Also, remember that the free airport Wi-Fi is accessible to anyone, so don’t do any sensitive transactions on public Wi-Fi.
And make sure your phone is always password protected should you lose it or have it stolen.
Hackers love people who forgo security and opt for convenience instead.
Don’t let them hack you this holiday season!
Do you ever charge your phone from a USB port at the airport?
Were you surprised to learn about the dangers?
Tell us your thoughts in the comments below and be sure to share this article with all your friends!