I’m sure most of us have had those hectic mornings where we are running so late that it didn’t even cross our mind to charge our phones. Some public places offer a public charging kiosk. You might stumble upon one of these bad boys and think you just hit the jackpot, but don’t be so quick to plug your phone in. Some people will brave nearly any possible risk to power up their smartphone, no matter what the outcome. Of course with anything involving technology, there is always some type of danger that could possibly be linked with it. We are in a technology driven world with new advancements coming out daily, so be knowledgeable of what you are using before you use it.

Your phones USB port is where a vector attack takes place, also known as juice jacking. A user without any knowledge of the systems malicious intent, plugs their phone in and the attack takes place. Many smartphones are setup to transfer data or sync when they are plugged in directly to USB ports, which is what cellphone power kiosks are equipped with. This means a sly hacker can easily tweak the charging station and automatically download your cellphone data and upload malware. Although, this has been known to be a large theoretical threat, with businesses flying employees on a regular basis, the vector may come up more often than people think. If you have already been using these kiosks or will possibly be in the future, hear me out and follow these precautions before you do.

Make sure you lock your phone. If it is locked correctly, it can be inaccessible without the input of a PIN or equivalent passcode. The iOS devices can only be paired with the device when unlocked. Pairing takes place in seconds so be sure the phone is really secure. Another thing is to get into the habit of charging your phone when you are not using it. That way your phone will always be topped off when you don’t have the ability to charge it. The last thing is to always keep a personal charger handy, they make them small and portable nowadays so toss it in your bag for convenience.

Charging our phones is something most of us do every day, so we would never dream that the tiniest detail like using a kiosk charger could affect the security of our devices. The best defense against a compromised mobile device is awareness.

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