If you’re traveling for the upcoming holiday season, you may want to think twice before plugging your smartphone into an airport’s public charging station.
The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office released a warning earlier this month urging people not to use the public charging stations. That’s because hackers can use them to install malware via the charging cables, which could give them access to all the data on your phone. Called “juice jacking, this fortunately isn’t a very common occurrence, but it is possible, which should be enough to deter people unless they are truly desperate for a charge.
Fortunately, there are plenty of easy ways to avoid this potential scenario. You can carry your own external charger, use a charge-only cable, or bring your own AC outlet to plug directly into a wall socket. If you’re interested in saving space, you can use a device known as a “USB condom.” These disable the data pin when plugged into a USB cable, preventing the transfer of data through the cable, effectively turning the public charging cable into a charge-only device.