In a seemingly never-ending list of things we’re to be afraid of, let’s talk about “juice jacking.” Believe it or not, bad actors who can’t even get a job on Bachelor Canada seem to have figured out yet another way to hack our devices.
Essentially, the tech has gotten small enough and easy enough to produce that nogoodniks can gain access to a device through the USB charging ports that are conveniently available in airports, coffee shops or your local pet store.
In short, the most common lightning and USB-C charging cables have the ability to charge and to exchange data. This means the crooks can download the data from your phone as if you’d plugged it into their laptop.
To short-circuit this threat, bring your own cables and/or plug into an AC outlet (the wall socket) if you can. If you must use one of these charging ports or (gasp!) a USB cable someone “left behind,” power your phone down.
The FBI recently tweeted a reminder to stop using these ports. As fact-checking guru website Snopes discovered when they contacted the FBI for comment on their tweet, there hasn’t been an uptick in complaints about this happening. So this begs the question, Why now?
It seems the FBI simply wanted to update consumers on the latest information. Snopes assessment is that, while there is an actual security threat (i.e., juice jacking is possible), “no evidence has been presented that the practice is widespread.”
Step back from the ledge, friends.
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