Have you ever heard of Juice Jacking?
Pre-Covid when doing things in public was normal, we would all work from coffee shops, airport lounges, on trains and pretty much anywhere that was convenient. That was the joy of free wifi and a laptop. But did you know that using public USB charging points and wall chargers can be risky? A USB connector not only charges, it is also used for transferring files.
Juice Jacking as its called is a form of cyber attack and can affect your laptop or your phone. If the charging port has been infected with malware it can be used to extract information from your device or upload malware to it. Its not happening every day nor is it happening on every public charging point but it is worth being aware of. Think of it like the cashpoint skimming devices -if its in an area where it can be tampered with, all it takes is one bad guy.
Data theft might mean they could access bank details, emails, photos and other private information that could be used to impersonate you. The many different types of malware that cybercriminals could install through juice jacking may include adware, cryptominers, ransomware, spyware, or Trojans. In fact, Android malware nowadays is as versatile as malware aimed at Windows systems. While cryptominers mine a mobile phone’s CPU/GPU for cryptocurrency and drain its battery, ransomware freezes devices or encrypts files for ransom. Spyware allows for longterm monitoring and tracking of a target, and Trojans can hide in the background and serve up any number of other infections at will.
Many of today’s malware is designed to hide from sight, so it’s possible you could be infected for a long time and not know it. Symptoms of a mobile phone infection include a quickly-draining battery life, random icons appearing on your screen of apps you didn’t download, advertisements popping up in browsers or notification centers, or an unusually large phone bill. But sometimes infections leave no trace at all, which means prevention is all the more important.
What can you do
Plugging your charger (plug and usb) into the wall is completely safe. Carry a power bank with you when you're travelling or working away from home. Avoid using any cables or power banks that you find left behind. If you regularly visit dodgy places, then you could invest in devices called USB condoms and juice-jack defenders you can use to protect yourself.