Federal Bureau of Investigation officials are cautioning travelers and shoppers to steer clear of public free phone charging stations, warning that “bad actors” hack these to install malware and tracking software onto computers and phones.
“Bad actors have figured out ways to use public USB ports to introduce malware and monitoring software onto devices,” FBI officials announced in a tweet.
“Carry your own charger and USB cord and use an electrical outlet instead,” the FBI officials said.
Avoid using free charging stations in airports, hotels or shopping centers. Bad actors have figured out ways to use public USB ports to introduce malware and monitoring software onto devices. Carry your own charger and USB cord and use an electrical outlet instead. pic.twitter.com/9T62SYen9T
— FBI Denver (@FBIDenver) April 6, 2023
How else do the feds suggest keeping phones safe?
The FBI has given numerous previous warnings about our mobiles. Last year, the agency issued a warning urging people to be cautious of using their devices to scan unknown QR codes in public.
According to the FBI, "cybercriminals are taking advantage of this technology by directing QR code scans to malicious sites to steal victim data, embedding malware to gain access to the victim's device, and redirecting payment for cybercriminal use."
The FBI also released a statement in April 2021 warning that scammers were calling people and pretending to be representatives from government agencies attempting to convince victims that charges had been or would be filed against them unless they paid up.