Man charging smartphone in public place

Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Be Charging Your Phone in Public Ports

Many public places have begun to provide USB ports in addition to electrical outlets to charge your phone. To most, this seems like a lifesaver, especially if your battery is almost completely drained. Unfortunately, hackers have hooked tiny computers into some of these USB ports, so when you plug your phone in, they can install malicious programs on your phone. These programs report back personally identifiable information that thieves can use to commit identity theft. Alternately, thieves can use the connection to your phone to look through your phone's contents, stealing browser history data -- including passwords. It's called "Juice Jacking," and it can take as little as three minutes for them to steal your personal information.

Man charging smartphone in public place


At a recent digital security conference, one security firm ran an experiment by offering public charging cables that anyone could use. Surprisingly, 80 percent of security experts at the conference used these cables without once inquiring about security!


Obviously, these hackers are not everywhere. They choose places where they can do the most damage -- airports, coffee shops, shopping malls and other places where people hang out. If you're at a place you trust, feel free to use the power. However, if you're in a public place, be cautious! Use these tips to stay safe.


1.) Carry (or borrow) a power plug
The easiest way to thwart the scam is to only plug your phone into electrical outlets. There's no computer on the other side there. The only problem with this option is you have to carry around your own power plug. Consider shopping around to find a compact, square converter and keep it in your bag. If a power plug is a real hassle, only carry it on days when your phone is low on juice.


2.) Pick up a battery
You can also carry your power solutions with you. Advancements in battery technology have made them smaller and more efficient than ever. You can find a battery pack the size of a pen that will refill your smartphone on a full charge. Slightly larger packs can provide several days' worth of charge if you've got a little more space.
If it's too much of a hassle to carry around, try keeping one in your glove compartment for emergencies. That way, you can grab it when you need it and charge it on the road.


3.) Conserve your power
The easiest way to avoid using a public charging station is not to need one in the first place. There are several things you can do to save your phone's charge if it looks like you're running low. Even doing something like changing your wallpaper to all black will help add precious seconds to your run time.
For slightly more savings, keep your apps updated. The reason developers constantly release new versions is because they find ways to make things run more smoothly. Running outdated software could be chewing up your battery life. DO NOT enable auto-update. This can drain data in a hurry while also burning through battery life. Update apps manually when you're connected to Wi-Fi, or just disable automatic updates to conserve your battery power.


SOURCES:


http://www.bestproducts.com/tech/gadgets/g602/portable-external-battery-packs/
https://www.bustle.com/p/heres-why-charging-your-phone-in-public-usb-ports-is-actually-riskier-than-you-think-39165
http://money.CNN.com/2017/02/15/technology/public-ports-charging-bad-stop/