At some point in our life, I’m sure we’ve all experienced the stress when we notice our smartphones are about to die and quickly run to the nearest charging point to recharge them. However, what we might not know is that charging phones through public chargers can make you a victim of Juice Jacking. This is a complete guide on Juice jacking.
What is Juice Jacking?
Juice Jacking is the latest security exploit in which an infected USB charging station is used to compromise connected devices. Juice jacking takes advantage of a mobile phone’s power supply that is passed over the same USB cable that the connected device uses to sync data.
You may have noticed that whenever you charge your phone through the USB port of your computer or laptop, it also opens up the option to move files back and forth between the two systems. That’s because a USB port is not simply a power socket. Once your phone is connected and charging, the attacker can access your files and personal information on the device. In fact, they can also infect your phone by downloading a virus or malware onto it. Once you unplug your phone, you may have had your personal information stolen, and your phone may well be infected with a virus or malware.
Types of Juice Jacking
With technology ever-evolving, attackers have invented new ways of infecting devices through Juice Jacking. Here are some of the ways that your device could get caught in a Juice jacking attack.
- Data Theft: Juice Jacking can lead to the theft of data from connected devices. This happens when hackers search through your phone for personal information such as account credentials, bank details, or more. Once located, hackers will then copy all the data on their devices.
- Malware Installation: Once a phone is connected to the cable, malware can automatically be installed onto the device. Malware will remain on the device until it is detected.
- Multi-Device attacks: A multi-device attack is a method that involves attacking multiple devices in one go. It occurs when a device charged by infected cables infects other additional cables and ports with the same malware.
- Disabling Attack: This is a type of attack where the malware uploaded on the connected device locks the owner out of the phone, and the entire control goes to the hacker.
Despite the types of attacks, there are safety measures and precautions you can take to ensure that you do not become juice-jacking. Here are our top 5 tips on how to protect your device.
Top 5 Tips to protect the phone from Juice Jacking
- Avoid public charging stations: Always plan ahead. It’s a good idea to get in the habit of charging your phone at work, in the car, or at home when you’re not using it.
- Use a Wall Outlet: Data can’t transfer between your device at a regular AC wall outlet. So, if you’re in public and desperately need a charge, consider using a wall socket. If you’re travelling, make sure you have the correct adapter before heading out on your trip.
- Choose a different method to charge your phone: Options can include external batteries, wireless charging stations, or power banks.
- Lock or switch off the device: Always lock your phone so it can’t pair with a connected device. You can also power down the phone before charging it.
- Disable the device’s security option: Disable your device’s option to automatically transfer data when a charging cable is connected. This is the default on iOS devices. Android users should disable this option in the Settings app.
Antivirus software can protect your device, however, it is essential to remember that it won’t be useful when it comes to juice jacking. So the next time you are travelling, it’s worth taking simple precautions, and a charged power bank with you in case of emergencies.