Anyone with a smartphone will understand the plight of the dreaded one-percent battery and nowhere to charge – especially at an airport.
Yet, a US cyber-security expert warns against plugging into those convenient USB power charging stations.
Speaking to Forbes, Caleb Barlow, vice-president of X-Force Threat Intelligence at IBM Security, says these stations are targeted by cyber-hackers.
‘Plugging into a public USB port is kind of like finding a toothbrush on the side of the road and deciding to stick it in your mouth,’ he said. ‘You have no idea where that thing has been.’
Barlow warns that malware could be installed on your phone allowing hackers to download your information without your knowledge.
So how to say safe when charging in public? Barlow thinks you’re better to remember to pack your charger.
It’s was much safer for passengers heading to the airport to bring a regular charger along and plug it into a wall outlet or, alternatively, bring a portable power bank to recharge your phone when you’re low on bars.
Let’s say I’m a bad guy … I go into an airport … I’m not going to easily take apart the charging station, but it’s easy just to leave my cord behind.
Now, if you see an Apple charging cord, you’re likely to grab it or just plug into it. But inside this cord is an extra chip that deploys the malware, so it charges your phone, but now I own your computer.
So yeah, don’t forget your charger!
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Joseph Loftus is a Gold Standard NCTJ journalist with four years experience working for international and regional press.
As well as working for UNILAD and LADbible, Joseph has worked as Liverpool Correspondent for Unsigned & Independent Magazine, as well as stints with the Liverpool Echo and Warrington Guardian.