January 30, 2020

What is Juice Jacking and How Can it Affect My Electronic Devices?

Think about all the times you have been in public where you mindlessly plugged your phone into a nearby charging port. Coffee shops, airports, malls, and hotels are all examples of locations that might offer convenient USB ports.

The new security threat will have you thinking twice about charging your phone in public.

Juice jacking is a type of cyber attack that involves either uploading malware or stealing private information from your device through a USB port.

juice jacking

How does juice jacking work?

A conventional wall plugin charger serves only one purpose – to charge your electronic device. A USB port serves two purposes: to charge your device and to transfer data.

When you charge your smartphone through the USB of your laptop, you have the option to transfer files between the two devices. For example, iTunes will open to move music files or you will be prompted to sync Photos to your laptop.

Just as easily as you can transfer data between your two personal devices, juice jacking allows hackers to maliciously transfer data onto or from your device through a public USB port.

The harmful connection is only visible on the charging end, meaning smartphone users can be compromised without even knowing it.

Using the same tactics listed above, hackers can also download malware on unsuspecting smartphone users. This malware allows hackers to clone and impersonate a phone, freeze devices, encrypt data, or insert spyware.

Even though charging ports are located in a physical area, the hacker does not have to be in close proximity to commit the cybercrime. Data thefts can breach an unsecured USB port and install malware.

This malware is designed to search through data on your device in order to steal personally identifiable information, such as routing numbers, credit card numbers, or even social security number.

Juice jacking can be completely automated, which means the user can hack your electronic device from essentially anywhere in the world.

How do I keep my electronic devices safe?

The best way to avoid juice jacking is to avoid public USB cables in public charging stations. Instead, remember to always carry your own charging cables. This ensures you are not exposed to any “infected” cables.

Whether you are using a personal or public USB charging cord – a USB data blocker is your best line of defense. Data blockers act as a physical barrier between your cord and the USB outlet. This serves to not only block data transfer, but protects against viruses and malware. Essentially, data blockers allow users to charge their electronic devices without fear of being hacked.

If you do not have a data blocker, only charge directly from an electrical outlet, not a USB port. This means using a traditional wall adapter, or power adapter, with three or two prongs.

It is also a good idea to pay close attention to your personal charging cords, and where you get them from. Most people tend to keep stray charging cords that they find, but this might be a trap set by malevolent users. These ill-natured criminals intentionally leave infected cords in highly-trafficked areas. When the person uses the cord, the hacker is able to access their private data.

If you would like more information about juice jacking, need help avoiding cyber attacks, or other digital marketing services, contact Pink Dog Digital at (410) 696-3305, email us at info@pinkdogdigital.com, or visit us on the web at www.pinkdogdigital.com.

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