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How to Protect Your Phone at Public Phone Charging Station

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As convenient as it is to be able to charge our phones on the go, there is a potential security risk that you may not be aware of: juice jacking. This can occur when you use a public phone charging station or even when you use someone else's charging cable. In this blog, we will explore how juice jacking works and how you can protect yourself.

What is juice jacking?

Juice jacking is a type of cyber attack that occurs when hackers use your phone charger to steal your data. It is called "juice jacking" because the attacker is essentially using the charging process to "jack" data from your phone. This type of attack is particularly dangerous because it is almost impossible to tell if a charger has been compromised.

Juice jacking can happen in two main ways:

  1. Public charging stations. When you use a public phone charger station, you are essentially plugging your phone into a device you have no control over. These phone charging stations for businesses are often found in airports, coffee shops, and other public places. The problem is that these cell phone charging stations could potentially be hacked to access your phone's data.
  2. Malicious charging cables. Another way that juice jacking can occur is through the use of a malicious charging cable. These cables are designed to look like regular charging cables. But they have been modified to include additional hardware that allows the attacker to access your phone's data...One common type of juice jacking attack is the use of the USB Ninja Cable. This is a USB cable that has been designed to inject malware onto your device when it is plugged in. Once the malware is on your device, the hacker can gain access to your private files and hold them for ransom until you pay to have them released.

One of the most terrifying things about the USB Ninja Cable is that it is almost indistinguishable from an ordinary USB cable. It looks and feels the same, and it even functions the same way when you plug it into your device. For example, if you plug a phone into a computer with a Ninja Cable, the phone will still charge just like it would with a normal cable. This makes it very difficult to tell if you are using an infected cable.

phone charging stations

How does juice jacking work?

There are a few different ways that it can work, depending on the type of attack being used.

  1. Data theft. One of the primary ways that juice jacking can occur is through the theft of data from your phone. This could include personal information such as login credentials, financial information, and other sensitive data.
  2. Malware installation. Another way is through the installation of malware onto your smartphone. This malware could potentially allow the attacker to remotely access and control your phone or steal data from it.
  3. Man-in-the-middle attacks. Juice jacking can also involve man-in-the-middle attacks, in which the attacker intercepts data being transferred between your smartphone and the charging station or cable. This allows the attacker to potentially access and steals sensitive data.

How can you protect yourself from juice jacking at public phone charging station?

Tips for safely charging your device:

  1. Use your own charging cables and devices. One of the easiest ways to protect yourself is to use your own charging cables and devices. This way, you know that they are not compromised and that they are safe to use.
  2. Be cautious of unfamiliar charging cables. If you are offered a charging cable by someone you don't know, or if you find one that you didn't bring with you, be cautious. It's possible that it could be a malicious charging cable that has been designed to steal your data.
  3. Use a portable charger, aka power bank. A portable charger or external battery can be a convenient way to keep your phone charged while on the go. This way, you don't have to rely on potentially risky charging stations or cables.
  4. Use a wireless charger if available. Wireless charging does not require a physical connection, so they are not vulnerable to juice jacking.
  5. Avoid using public charging stations. If possible, try to avoid using public cell phone charger stations. If you must, avoid using unfamiliar or poorly-maintained  commercial phone charging stations. If a charging station looks old or poorly maintained, it's best to avoid using it. Similarly, if you come across a charging station that you don't recognize, it's best to look for a different one.
  6. Don't leave your phone unattended while it's charging. Leaving your phone unattended while it's charging at a public charging station leaves it vulnerable to theft or tampering.
  7. Use a USB condom. A USB condom is a small device that you can use to protect your phone from juice jacking when using a public charging station. It acts as a barrier between your phone and the charging station, preventing the transfer of data.

tips for safely charging your device Electron-to-Go

Tips for securing and protecting your phone:

  1. Enable encryption: If your phone has encryption enabled, it will be much harder for an attacker to access your data through juice jacking. Make sure that your phone is encrypted, and keep it updated with the latest security patches to further protect yourself.
  2. Keep your device's operating system and antivirus software up to date. This will help protect against malware that might be transmitted through a charging port.
  3. Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) on your phone. Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security that requires you to provide a second form of verification (such as a code sent to your phone) in addition to your password when logging in to your phone or certain apps.

Electron-to-Go phone charging station with security features

Finally to protect your employees and guests from unauthorized access or tampering, consider implementing a commercial phone charging station with security features. Consider Electron-to-Go self-serve portable charger station. This is a fully automated solution that is controlled by software. Users can use an app to check out secured, charged, and ready-to-go portable battery phone chargers with built-in cables. The software sends notifications to users via text when it is time to return the charger to the station. It also generates reports on usage to help businesses monitor performance. The chargers are securely locked on the station, built-in cables on our chargers are difficult to recreate, and the system is able to detect tampering.  With these precautions in place, you can rest assured that your phone and your data are safe when you need to charge on the go.

Safe Electron-to-Go Supernova self-serve phone charging station

Juice jacking is a serious security risk that can occur when you use a public charging station or a malicious charging cable. By following suggested tips, you can protect your phone and data. Remember to stay vigilant and take steps to secure your device whenever you're using a public charging station.

To learn more about our Electron-to-Go charging station and our offering, visit our web page.