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Rewritten title: The Reasons Why Charging Your Smartphone at a Hotel or Airport Is a Bad Idea


Why you should NEVER charge your smartphone in a hotel or airport

Hurry up and wait, as they say… and after a fight to the airport, through check-in and security, that’s exactly what millions of travelers do every day.

Spending hours of mindless scrolling to kill time in queues, your trusty mobile that pumped out photos and videos to keep you entertained now needs a well-deserved recharge.

And the bright lights of the airport lounge at the end of the tunnel are the ideal place to plug in your phone for some much-needed refresh while you seek refuge nearby – keep an eye on the USB socket like a protective parent on a playground .

But not that fast. The hour your phone needs could be just what dastardly hackers have been waiting for.

The FBI has issued a warning against using public USB charging stations to prevent the transmission of viruses and malware

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While a USB charging point in an airport or hotel may seem harmless, the FBI has now issued a warning to all smartphone users not to use them, as hackers have devised a way to load them full of viruses.

The US intelligence and security service spread the message via its official Denver Twitter account.

It read: “Avoid using free charging stations in airports, hotels or shopping malls. Bad actors have devised ways to use public USB ports to introduce malware and surveillance software to devices.”

The tweet then went on to advise people to always bring your own charger and USB cable to plug into a wall outlet instead.

The practice – known as “juice jacking” – had previously been warned by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office, as they reported signs of fraudsters accessing someone’s phone or tablet.

Once your phone is connected to the USB port, hackers can send malware programs from their own phones or laptops to the charging station’s hardware.

This can then lead to your phone being locked or disabled and your private information could be compromised.

It essentially means that the charging stations became a distribution center for viruses.

The FCC has also warned against this practice in the past, claiming that cybercriminals leave infected USB cables plugged into ports in hopes someone could use them.

If you do plug your phone into a USB charging port, make sure you don’t agree to share your data when prompted via a pop-up.

Potentially dangerous public USB ports are often found in airports, hotels or trains

Potentially dangerous public USB ports are often found in airports, hotels or trains

By choosing the ‘charge only’ option, you at least ensure that you do not hand over any sensitive information.

Other ways to avoid becoming a victim of juice jacking is to never plug your device into a cable that has already been left there.

Also, be careful when using public Wi-Fi networks in an airport and around busy areas, as this is another way you can be hacked by cybercriminals.

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