⚡ NJ public USB charging station alert: Don’t get juice jacked
⚡ If you charge your device at a public station bad guys can steal personal info

⚡ What you should do to stay safe

Are you heading to Newark Liberty Airport, a hotel or motel or perhaps a college or university in the Garden State?

New Jersey residents are being warned about charging cell phones, laptops and other portable devices at any public charging stations with USB ports, something being referred to as “juice jacking.”

The Federal Communications Commission has issued an alert that scammers can now load malware onto public USB charging stations to maliciously access electronic devices while they are being charged.

Your bank account could get wiped out

That can be a serious problem because a corrupted USB port can export personal data, like bank account numbers and passwords to the bad guys, who may either use it themselves or sell it to other crooks and scam artists.

BrianAJackson GettyImages
BrianAJackson GettyImages

The FCC is warning that in some cases criminals may have intentionally left cables plugged in at charging stations, and also there have even been reports of infected cables being given away as promotional gifts.

How to stay safe

To avoid becoming a juice-jacking victim you should:

• Avoid using a public USB charging station. Use an AC power outlet instead

• Bring AC, car chargers, and your own USB cables with you when traveling

• Carry a portable charger or external battery

• Consider carrying a charging-only cable, which prevents data from sending or receiving while charging, from a trusted supplier

• If you plug your device into a USB port and a prompt appears asking you to select "share data" or “charge only,” always select “charge only”


The FCC also notes public Wi-Fi networks are another way that cybercriminals target travelers.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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