This Is Why You Should Never Use Airport USB Charging Stations

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It seems that in this day and age, you can’t escape scammers anywhere. Not even in the secured confines of an airport.

Those charging stations and USB stations positioned throughout airports sure are helpful when your battery is about to die, but you might want to think twice about using those USB chargers before you board your plane.

That’s because cybercriminals can modify USB chargers with malware that’ll steal information from your cell phone.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Caleb Barlow, Vice President of X-Force Threat Intelligence at IBM Security says, “Plugging into a public USB port is kind of 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 that USB port can pass data.”

If that toothbrush analogy doesn’t deter you, I don’t know what will. It’s much safer to bring your own regular phone charger when you travel or to bring a portable power pack that will recharge your cell phone.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

If you forget to bring your charger or you just want to ignore good advice and use the USB ports anyway, you might want to invest in a Juice-Jack Defender and keep it in your travel bag. These nifty little gadgets only pass along the voltage to charge your phone while blocking any data from traveling through your cord.

While some people may think these kinds of precautions are a bit paranoid, new research from IBM Security shows that cybercriminals are making the transportation industry a priority. In fact, it is now the second-most attacked industry, up from the tenth spot in 2o17.

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Caleb Barlow also warns against using tech accessories that are “left behind” by other travelers. This might be a scam as well, as some cybercriminals have added an extra chip in the charger that deploys malware and, again, will steal your data. It is always a bad idea to use random USB anything.

Be vigilant when you travel, friends!