Beware The Free Charge for Your Smartphone

By Ben Hamill - February 19 2020
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Beware The Free Charge for Your Smartphone

Nothing free truly ever is. Not even the smart phone charging stations offered “for free” to travellers and shoppers who pass through airports and big city shopping centres. And if you thought that the term “juice jacking” refers to someone either nicking or spiking your fruit juice, then think again. Not that anyone could reasonably be expected to know what the term actually refers to as folks are generally not at all aware that juice jacking is actually happening when it’s happening.

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The term refers to hackers gaining access to the information on an individual’s device when plugged into a typical public charging station. Those most at risk of falling victim to juice jacking are folks who travel abroad. Even though tech security experts have been trying to eradicate the problem ever since having first become aware of its sheer magnitude, malicious charge-points remain a reality to both aware and wary of. This according to Canadian Research Chair and mobile security expert Natalia Stakhanova.

Mind Your USB

Since juice jacking can be exceptionally hard to pin-point, with the majority of people who fall victim to any degree of identity theft not being aware of how their information had been stolen in the first place, it’s important to know how to avoid being juice-jacked in the first place.

The central component to all of this is the everyday USB port. Most of us are familiar with the variety of USB port that acts both as a data transfer utility as well as an energy transfer device. It’s not rocket science to try and figure out why this double-bill is especially useful to those in the information-theft business.

Info Is Never Harmless

Another big problem is that many people consider their phones to be pretty harmless as far as compromising information is concerned. It’s easy to lose track of the fact that even information as basic as an email address or contact number may prove disastrous when in the wrong hands as this is the kind of info generally used to access online banking platforms. And so, in the words of Los Angeles County deputy district attorney Luke Sisak, “a free charge could end up draining your bank account”.

A recommended alternative would be to get into the habit of carrying around your own AC charger. Also, the majority of smart phones come standard with the option of blocking the phone from transferring any information to an outside device. A simple measure indeed but one that’s able to go a really long way when talking identity theft.

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