The hacking of computers and phones in order to steal information or upload malware is unfortunately not a new phenomenon, and it can come in many forms. Our goal is to raise awareness and help people protect themselves from hackers. In this blog post we will explain what “juice jacking” is and how to avoid it. 

The term “juice jacking” refers to a type of cyber attack which uses a charging port or infected cable to exfiltrate data from the connected device or upload malware onto it. This attack most commonly happens when users plug their phones into free charging stations, such as those you see at an airport, hotel, or bus stop. 

Juice jacking is made possible by USB ports, which allow files to move back and forth between the device and the power source. Anytime a user connects their device to a USB port, they are essentially opening the door for files to come in or go out. 

Juice jacking works by stealing data from the phone, or by installing harmful malware onto it unbeknownst to the user. When data is stolen from the device, it can happen in seconds, or as soon as you plug your phone into the kiosk that has been infected with malware by a hacker. This malware can quickly search your phone for personal information such as account credentials or banking information. 

When a juice jacking attack installs malware onto the device, this provides hackers another avenue to steal your information. Some types of malware will search your device for information, while others encrypt files for ransom or monitor and track the device over longer periods of time. Oftentimes users do not know that their device has been infected with malware. Some signs that there could be malware on your device are a quickly draining battery, app icons that you don’t recognize, and pop-up ads. 

In order to avoid a juice jacking attack, you should:

  • Avoid using public charging stations; 
  • Keep your own charger with you and plug into an outlet; 
  • Bring an external battery or wireless charger; or
  • Purchase a USB data blocker, which allows a USB port to charge your device but blocks data transfer. 

Always be weary of technology that seems like it has been left behind, and never plug such a thing into your phone or computer. Want to learn more about how to keep your data secure in your home or office network? Contact us today!