No USB phone charger on hand? No problem! So many places these days come equipped with power charging stations ready for use, some actually have the cords available for you. There’s even a power charging station in some bar napkin dispensers, the ones that hold the lemons and limes (not kidding).
Should you be so brave as to use this public power station? While that’s entirely up to you, there are some things we’d like to warn you about, and some ways to prevent them.
Aside from the obvious dilemma of touching unsanitary objects, there’s a risk that using public USB stations can upload harmful data onto your device. As the holidays approach, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office cautions that “criminals load malware onto charging stations or cables they leave plugged in.” The “dangerous” malware, the officials say, “may infect the phones and other electronic devices of unsuspecting users.”
As the USB socket delivers power, it also delivers data. The scary thing is that it’s impossible to see what’s being delivered. “Juice Jacking” is a term used when criminals load malware onto a charging kiosk or cables and wait for unsuspecting users.
The last thing we need after a stressful trip to the airport (where we used a public USB), is an even more stressful trip to our wireless carrier as we try to figure out what’s wrong with our device. We have enough to worry about, it’s almost Christmas!
So, what’s the best way to avoid the stress altogether? A USB data blocker.
A USB data blocker will help to avoid contracting any sort of virus (probably why they’re also called USB condoms or USB shields, we’re not making this up!). A USB data blocker is a small USB device that that blocks all data transfer, enabling you to use whichever port or charging kiosk is available, without the risk of malware.
It’s a device small enough to hang from a key ring, or keep tucked away in a purse, and helps with overall peace of mind.
The risks increase as more and more of these public charging stations are becoming available, and if you’re an avid traveler in need of a quick charge – the USB data blocker is the way to go.
Here’s a few more tips to avoid leaving the airport with a bug:
– Use an AC power outlet instead of a USB charging station
– Bring a car charger to use for your device
– Consider purchasing a portable charger for emergencies
If you need assistance with cybersecurity contact DarkHound at [email protected]
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