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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.
It's called Juice Jacking, and it can take as little as three minutes for them to steal your personal information.
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 Running outdated software could be chewing up your battery life.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.