Why you should be careful when charging your phone at an airport

2019-12-12 16:45
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We can all relate to this feeling - travelling for hours, your battery pack completely depleted and your phone on the verge of joining the afterlife - until you spot a USB port in the airport.

You might think that the cell phone gods have smiled upon you, but these public ports might not be the saviours you think they are. 

READ: Having your passport information stolen is as bad as credit card fraud

These ports are not so difficult to hack by shady characters, reports Forbes, where they load malware on your device or steal your data. One way this is done is by 'forgetting' a charging cable in a port, which an unsuspecting passerby might see as good luck and just plug in their phone straight away.

Also called 'juice jacking', it's just another form of cyber hacking, and South Africa is no stranger to these kinds of crimes. According to the 2019 IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index, the transport industry has become the second-most attacked industry in the world, and USB ports are just one of many ways criminals are stealing data.

ALSO SEE: Privacy vs efficiency: How your personal data will be used at SA's airports

But how do you prevent it?

Besides the obvious - only using your own battery pack or plugging your charger into an AC plug - you can also buy a USB data blocker for your phone.

This handy little attachment that costs less than R400 lets your device charge safely in a public port, but without any data being transferred between the two.

Another good measure to keep your data safe while travelling is to never connect to unknown open WiFi connections and never using random USBs forgotten somewhere - chances are that these also have malware installed, just waiting to be plugged into someone's laptop.

So on your travels don't just be physically safe - but also digitally safe.

SEE: This app turns your phone camera into an all-knowing exploration device

*Compiled by Gabi Zietsman

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