The FBI Explains Why Public USB Ports Can Hack Your Phone

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Don't Use Public USB Ports

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Washington, April 10 (EFE) The FBI advises US citizens not to use public USB ports in public places such as airports, hotels and shopping centers, a recommendation echoed by the country’s media.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Denver, Colorado issued an alert on Twitter about the method used by hackers or hackers to infect electronic devices with malicious software (‘malware’) and surveillance software through public USB ports.

“Avoid using free charging stations at airports, hotels, and retail establishments. Cybercriminals have figured out how to use public USB interfaces to infect devices with malware and surveillance software. Bring your own charger and USB cable, and use an electrical receptacle instead,” he wrote.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also warns of this danger on its website, stating that hackers can load malware into USB ports to “maliciously” gain access to devices, a practice the agency refers to as ” juice extraction.

Avoid using free charging stations at airports, hotels, or shopping malls. Bad actors have discovered ways to use public USB ports to introduce malware and monitoring software onto devices. Bring your own charger and USB cable and use a power outlet instead.

— FBI Denver (@FBIDenver) April 6, 2023

This allows hackers to obtain personal information and credentials for their own use or to sell to third parties. The FCC recommends bringing your own USB cable, so there is no such risk.

Some internet users have suggested using a data blocker USB cable adapter (PortaPow) to prevent juice theft. In addition, the authorities recommend installing antivirus software on electronic devices.

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What is juice jacking?

Juice hacking is a cybercriminal activity. Using public USB ports, hackers steal private and confidential information, such as credit card numbers. Furthermore, they can implant malware on devices connected to these USB ports.

In less than 10 seconds, a criminal can access web pages installed in a phone’s browser by plugging a device into a hacked USB port, according to research from Central Queensland University. The Washington Post notes that a user’s privacy can be compromised the minute they connect.

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Categories: Technology

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