Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials are warning travelers and shoppers to avoid public free phone charging portals, warning that “bad actors” use these to install malware and tracking software onto computers and phones.
This is the practice commonly known as “juice-jacking.”
“Bad actors have figured out ways to use public USB ports to introduce malware and monitoring software onto devices,” FBI officials announced Thursday in a tweet.
“Carry your own charger and USB cord and use an electrical outlet instead,” the FBI officials advised.
The free public charging stations have multiplied in recent years as operators of airports, including Denver International Airport, increase services to accommodate growing numbers of people in transit. Hotel operators and shopping center managers also have installed the charging portals, and FBI officials warned these too could lead to the installation of unwanted surveillance software and malware onto computers and smartphones.
Denver International Airport officials on Thursday said they are wise to this activity, known among operations crew members as “juice-jacking,” but that they weren’t aware of any reports of trouble at DIA, airport spokeswoman Ashley Forest said.
DIA “has methods of determining whether a public charging port has been tampered with and the ability to take any tampered port out of service,” Forest said.
“However, the best defense against this type of attack on any public charging port remains within the smartphone itself,” she said, referring to Apple and Android “updates” to their smartphone software “to prevent or alert users to this type of attack when using a public charging port.”
(Sources : mecurynews.com)
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