Smartphone has become an essential need for almost everyone in this technological era. Subsequently, when a device is low on bars, there’s an ultimate requirement of a charger. Therefore, it is pertinent to mention that not all charging stations are secured. Not at least the airport USB ports as they can potentially steal your personal data. So beware!
Cyber attackers can install a malware in airport USB charging stations by amending those USB ports. As a result, your device becomes vulnerable and you could start losing your personal data unknowingly.
The Vice President of X-Force Threat Intelligence at IBM Security, Caleb Barlow said in a statement:
“Plugging into a public USB port is kind of like finding a toothbrush on the side of the road and deciding to stick it in your mouth. You have no idea where that thing has been. And remember that that USB port can pass data”
It is advisable to carry along your own charger which you could plug into a wall outlet. On the other hand, you can also carry portable power bank along with you to recharge your phone.
Safeguard your device
If you are not carrying your regular charger or portable power bank, and if you are adamant on using airport USB or any other public USB ports then Caleb Barlow highly recommends to invest as low as $10 for a little dongle known as Juice-Jack Defender. He explains:
“It’s a little dongle you can put in front of your charging cord. It basically blocks any data from passing down the cord. It only passes the voltage”
The aforementioned precautions may just be too much for an average traveler but the numbers reveal that the transportation industry is the second-most attacked industry and it’s on the radar of cybercriminals. In 2017, the transportation industry was the tenth-most attacked industry. Moreover, since January 2018, as many as 566 million records from the travel and transportation industry have been compromised.
Caleb Barlow also cautioned to avoid using cords which are left behind by other travelers. He said:
“Let’s say I’m a bad guy. I go into an airport. I’m not going to easily take apart the charging station but it’s easy to just leave my cord behind. Now, if you see an Apple charging cord, you’re likely to grab it or just plug into it. But inside this cord is an extra chip that deploys the malware, so it charges your phone but now I own your computer”
Therefore, it is crucial to stay vigilant and avoid using airport USB, or for that matter, any public USB charging stations.