Delayed flights can be boring, and unless your go-to entertainment is reading a good book, you would probably kill time scrolling through your mobile phone until it runs out of battery.
But before you plug your phone into one of the many airport charging stations within your reach, consider this: Cybercriminals could be looking for unsuspecting people that they can dupe through “juice jacking.”
Most airports offer public WiFi, and your data may remain safe as long as you’re connected to a trusted network. However, the same cannot be guaranteed when you’re plugging your phone into a USB power charging station often found at airport gates.
In fact, cybercriminals can use these very stations to download your data. That’s not even the end of it.
Through juice jacking, hackers can also install malware into your phone or other devices without your consent or knowledge.
In an interview with Forbes, Caleb Barlow, Vice President of X-Force Threat Intelligence at IBM Security, explained that plugging your devices into a public USB port is similar to picking up a toothbrush from the side of the road and putting it in your mouth without knowing where it’s been. Barlow added that everyone should remember that USB posts can pass data, which is something that hackers use to their advantage.
While this scenario is very likely, you can protect your data by being cautious and using technology wisely.
To date, there are no widespread reports of juice-jacking happening throughout airports. But this doesn’t mean you’re 100 percent safe. While juice jacking isn’t as widely known as other cybercrimes, it’s possible that it’s happening without the victims’ knowledge or incidences of juice jacking have simply gone unreported. (Related: Simple steps for preventing your online presence from being hacked.)
Don’t be a victim of hacking and cybercrimes. Follow these tips to protect yourself against juice jacking:
Make your trips stress-free. Don’t use airport charging stations to avoid juice jacking and use a portable power bank to keep your phone charged and your data safe while on vacation.