It’s a quick way to give your phone power, but hackers could get straight to your information.
The FBI has issued a serious warning against using free public phone chargers. They say that smart criminals have been known to use USB ports to infect phones with dangerous malware and software that can give hackers access to your phone, tablet, or computer.
A tweet from the official FBI account said, “Don’t use free charging stations in airports, hotels, or shopping malls.” “Bring your own USB cable and charger, and use an outlet instead.”
Avoid using free charging stations in airports, hotels or shopping centers. Bad actors have figured out ways to use public USB ports to introduce malware and monitoring software onto devices. Carry your own charger and USB cord and use an electrical outlet instead. pic.twitter.com/9T62SYen9T
— FBI Denver (@FBIDenver) April 6, 2023
In 2021, the Federal Communications Commission warned about “juice jacking,” which is another name for hijacking.
Malware bandits have been known to install infected USB ports that can send personal information and passwords directly from the phone to them, according to the FCC.
The FCC website says that criminals can use that information to get into online accounts or sell it to other criminals.
The FBI says that every online account should have a strong, unique password that is changed often.
“If you use the same passphrase for more than one account, you are more likely to be hacked if one account is broken into,” the website says.
The FBI also says that phones should be updated regularly, that multi-factor authentication should be set up, and that people should watch out for sophisticated phishing scams.