Free USB charging ports are popping up all over the place these days and though they may be convenient, they’re apparently not always the safest option. Why? According to a new CNN report, plugging your phone into a public outlet could actually make you more vulnerable to hackers.
We all know that feeling of relief when our cell phones are about to die and you find a charging station in an airport or a park. But while these stations and internet access points are becoming more common across the country, it turns out that connecting your phone to a USB charging station can be risky.
Per CNN, the wire that’s used to charge your cell is also used to send data from your phone to other devices — like when you connect your iPhone to your Mac to upload pictures or videos. If that cord is compromised, hackers could have unlimited access to your information, including emails, text messages, photos and contacts.
The process is reportedly called “juice jacking” and it basically means using hacked ports and your phone's video display to record everything you type and look at. It’s pretty scary and unfortunately, there’s no real way to tell if a port is hacked or not.
So how can you stay protected and keep your information away from technological thieves? The best way to ensure your privacy is to avoid using those public charging ports, no matter how handy they may be. Make sure your phone is fully charged before leaving the house, or go the extra mile and invest in your own portable battery pack. It may not be as convenient, but it’ll be worth it for maintaining your security in the long run!