Stop Using Public USB Ports To Charge Your Phone

Battery power is one of those things that’s always at a premium, especially when you’re travelling and need to use one of the precious few power outlets at the airport to keep your device charged.

In November, the LA County District Attorney’s office put out a warning to remind everyone of one way you shouldn’t keep that device charged: a public USB port.

We warned people about using public USB ports back in May 2019.

[referenced url=”” thumb=”×231.jpg” title=”There’s A New Phone Scam To Be Wary Of: Public Charging Ports” excerpt=”Checkm8 is the latest malware threat to target the once-impenetrable iPhone. The exploit infiltrates iOS devices through a USB connection and poses a significant threat to anyone using public charging stations (like those found in airports.) Worryingly, the researcher who discovered it believes it’s un-patchable. Yikes. Here’s what you need to know.”]

The issue is that public USB ports can potentially be hacked so that they install data-stealing malware onto your phone while you charge up. Called “juice-jacking,” the hack could result in scammers getting access to your passwords, personal information and more. Not exactly worth it for a few more minutes of Candy Crush, right?

If you do use one of the ports (don’t!), make sure you’re not agreeing to give the port access to data on your device. Depending on your device, you might see a pop up when you connect asking if you trust the device. You do not.

A better option is always to simply plug your phone or tablet into an AC outlet instead. I highly recommend picking up a small surge protector prior to your holiday travels and bringing that along. The protector takes up a minimal amount of bag space and can be a powerful tool when it comes to negotiating with someone to let you share a power outlet.

Things like portable batteries can also be your friend and can help provide a little juice even when you’re out in the world away from outlets as a whole. I’m a huge fan of this Mophie battery that can even charge your laptop if you need it to, btu if your phone is your only concern you can get some much smaller and cheaper batteries that can get the job done as well.

This article has been updated since its original publication.


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