You’re at the airport and you’re at the boarding gates, your phone battery is low! Alas! You need to charge it and plug it into one of the available charging ports you come across. This could be detrimental to your privacy and to your bank account! And er…..er….those nudes you may have in your gallery! In case you haven’t heard about Juice Jacking, I want to give you the heads up so that you may avoid becoming a victim of Juice Jacking!
How do you feel when the battery on your laptop or mobile device is dying or dead? I know the feeling….and it’s enough to leave us wanting to charge it at the nearest available charging station or dock it into some USB port. That’s exactly when we are most vulnerable and that’s precisely the time that hackers are waiting to prey on us – when our devices are on low battery mode.
This is when we need to be on high alert! Rather stay out of touch with the world than charge your phone in public places. This could be at the airport, on a train, in a coffee shop or at a hotel. It could be anywhere really.
What is Juice Jacking?
Juice Jacking is a form of cyber attack. This happens via USB, when a charging port is doubled up as a data connection, unbeknownst to unsuspecting individuals who just want their devices charged. There is malware that is installed, which will surreptitiously copy and infiltrate the data from your devices. Depending on the software of the malware, it could even make your device unstable. That “free” charge could leave empty your bank accounts and totally invade your privacy and even sensitive information, depending on what you have on your device.
Have you noticed that when you plug your mobile device into your laptop, you receive a pop-up messages that asks if you want to transfer files to your laptop/pc? Well, that there in itself, is evidence that a USB port is not merely a power source but also facilitates transfer of data.
How to avoid becoming a victim of Juice Jacking?
- Avoid charging your devices in public places
- Invest in a power bank – carry this around and charge your phone when needed
- If a power bank is too expensive or not practical in terms of size to carry around, invest in a data block which can be purchased from Datablock Africa. It retails between R100-R150 or look out for specials
- If you’re travelling, wait until you get to the next leg of your travel and use the good old fashioned AC socket
- Invest in a wireless charging station
- After you read this post, google “Juice Jacking” to learn more – I haven’t covered all the technical aspects – better to be safe than sorry and the first step is to create awareness, which I hope I’ve done through this post
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather personally check my social media notifications later, than risk data theft. The malware than is installed by hackers for Juice Jacking, can steal all your data, including your passwords, photos, etc. Anything and everything that’s on your device!
This therefore should concern businesses as well. Are businesses taking the necessary measures to inform and educate its employees on Juice Jacking? With so many employees having company cell phones, laptops and tablets, who travel often for business, it’s not just the POPI Act that should be of concern as businesses are at risk. Imagine the financial manager or payroll manager becoming the next victim of Juice Jacking? I guess that makes the Data Block a good option for a corporate gift. On that note – be careful of branded USB gifts – anyone could brand the USB gift and give it to you for “free” but this could potentially be loaded with Malware for Juice Jacking.
Then there’s the safety of our kids, who have mobile devices/laptops/tablets. Please make them aware of Juice Jacking, it’s a reality! Who knows what these cyber attackers have in mind and what if they use it to track your child?
Guys and girls, this is serious – please help me in helping others be aware of the dangers out there.