[SIZE=7]FBI warns against using public chargers, but Boston office says there have been no local reports of ‘juice jacking’[/SIZE]
[SIZE=6]“Juice jacking” is when a hacker steals data from or installs malware onto a phone, tablet, or other devices.[/SIZE]
By Susannah Sudborough
April 12, 2023
The FBI sent out a routine reminder this month that using public charging ports can put you at risk of having your data stolen.
Locally, the Boston FBI office said no instances of this type of cybercrime have been reported.
[SIZE=5]What is ‘juice jacking?’[/SIZE]
“Avoid using free charging stations in airports, hotels or shopping centers. Bad actors have figured out ways to use public USB ports to introduce malware and monitoring software onto devices,” the warning reads. “Carry your own charger and USB cord and use an electrical outlet instead.”
This type of crime is known as “juice jacking.” The term refers to when a hacker uses public USB ports to steal important data from or install malware on a phone, tablet, or other devices.
The term originated in 2011 when researchers at a hacker convention displayed the potential data breach risks of these charging ports, [I]The Washington Post[/I] reported.
It’s unclear how common juice jacking really is, the newspaper wrote, and a juice jacking attack has yet to make headlines.
What little we do know about this type of cybercrime comes from the FCC. In an article updated Tuesday, it wrote that hackers may leave cables plugged into public charging ports as bait. People have also reported infected cables being distributed as promotional gifts, it said.
[SIZE=5]No juice jackers in Boston[/SIZE]
Juice jacking doesn’t seem to be a common crime in the Boston area. A spokesperson for FBI Boston said there haven’t been any local reports of juice jacking, and that the office intentionally chose not to retweet FBI Denver’s warning because it’s not really an issue here.
A spokesperson for Logan Airport also confirmed that it hasn’t received any reports of juice jacking at the airport. Even so, Logan Airport advises that passengers check for signs of tampering before using any of their public charging ports and that anyone who thinks a port may have been tampered with should report it to airport security.
Some signs of charging port tampering include the charging port appearing to be damaged or having many adapters plugged in, the spokesperson said.
[SIZE=5]The FCC’s tips for preventing juice jacking:[/SIZE]
[li]Avoid using a public USB charging station. Use an AC power outlet instead.[/li][li]Bring AC, car chargers, and your own USB cables when traveling.[/li][li]Carry a portable charger or external battery.[/li][li]Carry a charging-only cable, which prevents a device from sending or receiving data while charging.[/li][li]If you plug your device into a USB port and a prompt appears asking you to select “share data” or “charge only,” always select “charge only.”[/li][/ul]