FBI, FCC, Rockford BBB Warn Of “Juice-Jacking”–Here’s What It Is
I'm going to go ahead and guess that you clicked on this because like me, you've never heard of juice-jacking before, or you have heard of it...and you ended up with a problem because of juice-jacking.
If it's the latter, I can tell you that you're not alone. Juice-jacking has cost plenty of people time, money, personal information, and a whole lot of pure aggravation.
If you clicked on this because it sounded like it could be dirty, and that I would fill this piece with risqué double-entendres, I totally understand, but you're probably going to be disappointed (not that I'm not tempted. I'm only human).
Alright, Enough Jacking Around, Let's Get To What Juice-Jacking Actually Is
This is a pretty good description of juice-jacking from TechTarget.com:
Juice jacking is a security exploit in which an infected USB charging station is used to compromise connected devices. The exploit takes advantage of the fact that a mobile device’s power supply passes over the same USB cable the connected device uses to sync data.
In other words, using a USB charging station at an airport, mall, etc., that has been tampered with, or "infected" by someone who's looking to get into your phone's information is basically an invitation to raid your private info and a whole lot more.
The Denver Office of the FBI tweeted this a few days back:
Then the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) jumped aboard with this tweet:
Here Are The Fairly Simple Steps You Can Take To Avoid Getting Juice-Jacked
Since it would probably be somewhat embarrassing to run around yelling "Help! I've been juice-jacked!", you might want to give one of these ideas from the FCC a try the next time you find yourself in need of a phone charge while you're out:
- Avoid using a 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