USB juice jacking

FBI and FCC Cautions On Juice Jacking

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are warning the public about the dangers of “juice jacking.”

Juice jacking occurs when someone innocently plugs their phone or mobile device into a compromised USB port that is infected with malicious software. Such malware can allow criminals to steal personal data and passwords.

Charging a tablet or giving a cellphone some juice when it is running low on battery at a public charging station can be risky. Public charging stations can be found in transportation hubs, sports arenas, conference centers and busy public areas.

“Avoid using free charging stations in airports, hotels or shopping centers,” the FBI’s Denver Twitter account said. “Bad actors have figured out ways to use public USB ports to introduce malware and monitoring software onto devices. Carry your own charger and USB cord and use an electrical outlet instead.”

On its website, the FCC recommends:

  • “Avoid using a public USB charging station. Use an AC power outlet instead.
  • Bring AC, car chargers, and your own USB cables with you when traveling.
  • Carry a portable charger or external battery.
  • Consider carrying a charging-only cable, which prevents data from sending or receiving while charging, from a trusted supplier.
  • If you plug your device into a USB port and a prompt appears asking you to select ‘share data’ or ‘charge only,’ always select ‘charge only.’”

Additionally, it is not recommended to use an unknown charging cord with personal devices.

When in doubt, contact I.T. Solutions of South Florida for further guidance. We want to keep you safe from cyber harm.