WARNING: Charging your phone at the airport could leave you vulnerable

If USB ports are left out in a public area, unprotected and not monitored, they can be easily tampered with.

Cyber hackers [illustrative] (photo credit: REUTERS)
Cyber hackers [illustrative]
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Travellers are being warned not to leave their phones in free USB charge points, according to the Sun newspaper.
USB charging stations may have been hijacked at airports by criminals who may steal your personal details, including bank details.
The latest IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index reported that, "the transportation industry became the second-most attacked sector in 2018" – a huge leap up compared to tenth position in 2017.


Caleb Barlow, Vice President of X-Force Threat Intelligence at IBM Security told Forbes said that public ports, like those found in airports and other transport hubs, can be targeted which great ease by cyber criminals. If USB ports are left out in a public area, unprotected and not monitored, they can be easily tampered with.
Hackers can install hidden malware in the ports, which is then downloaded onto your phone when it's plugged in. Hackers could steal information stored on your phone, including your personal and bank details. They could also hack your phone and steal your photos.
Passengers are also warned not to use cables left in USB ports by other travellers.
Barlow says that USB's can be modified to include an "extra chip" that then installs malware onto your device to allow hackers to gain access.
The first step you can take to protect yourself is by bringing your own plug and using a regular electric outlet. Secondly, you can use a portable powerpack.
Apart from that, Barlow recommends using a device like a Juice-Jack Defender, which will protect your phone if you decide to use public USB ports.
The Juice-Jack Defender allows you to recharge your phone in the regular USB ports, but stops data from passing through, meaning that malware cannot enter your device.