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FBI: Don’t charge your phone in a public place

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The FBI advises individuals to stop using public smartphone recharge stations due to malware concerns.

The Denver office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation reports that charging areas in hotels and airports have been commandeered by criminals. According to the FBI, connecting your device to the free charging stations may result in malware or monitoring software infection.

Instead, the agency recommends that users bring their own cables and charging bricks and use the available power receptacles.

The Denver office tweets, “Avoid using free charging stations at airports, hotels, and shopping malls.” Bad actors have discovered methods to use public USB ports to infect devices with malware and monitoring software. Carry your own USB charger and cable, and instead use an electrical outlet.”

Following the advice of the federal government would make charging your phone at the airport more difficult. Airports have a limited number of electrical receptacles, which are frequently in high demand. Alternately, you could carry your own external battery.

There have been no pervasive reports of phone users being exposed to malware through public charging stations. However, a malicious variant of the iPhone lightning cable that can infect users’ devices has been reported.

In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission frequently issues warnings about “juice jacking.”

The FCC website states, “If your battery is running low, be aware that charging your electronic device at free USB port charging stations, such as those found near airport gates, in hotels, and other travel-friendly locations, could have unintended results. You may fall victim to “juice jacking,” a new cybertheft technique.

“Experts in cyber security have warned that criminals can install malware onto public USB charging stations in order to gain unauthorised access to electronic devices while they are being charged. Malware installed through a dirty USB port can lock a device or export personal data and passwords directly to the perpetrator. This information can be used to gain access to online accounts or sold to other criminals.”

Info Sources- The Hill, New York Post,

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