We’ve all found ourselves stuck at the airport with nothing to do but stare at our phone, only to discover the battery is hovering at a dangerously low level. Luckily, most airports now offer travellers the use of free public USB charging stations. Unluckily, these charging stations could be doing more harm to you and your phone than good.
In an interview with Forbes, Caleb Barlow, Vice President of the X-Force Threat Intelligence at IBM Security said that using a public USB charging stations is a bit like finding a toothbrush on the side of the road and deciding to stick it in your mouth; “you have no idea where that thing has been… And remember that USB port can pass data”.
As it turns out, enterprising cyber criminals can modify those public USB charging stations to install malware on your phone and download data – such as sensitive private information – without you even knowing. In fact, smart cyber criminals can install malware that steals your text messages, emails, photos and contacts as well as many other details.
But that’s not all. If you’re considering connecting to a free public wi-fi connection, you might want to think again. Internet security provider Norton reports that in recent years, public wi-fi has been used by cyber criminals to access private information by intercepting the information you provide to the public wi-fi carrier, once again putting you and your privacy at risk of being hacked, or malware being installed on your device.
How can you protect you privacy?
It’s much safer for you to bring your own charger with the average power-point adapter attached, and plug it into a wall or power outlet. Alternatively, invest in a portable power bank for recharging your devices on the go. And never connect to the free wi-fi.
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