Juice jacking: what is it, risks and solutions to avoid it

Recharging the battery of telephones, tablets and computers in public places such as stations and airports can be very useful, especially when traveling. The recharging methods can be static, via USB sockets, or on the move via power-bank sharing systems. Recently, the American security services issued an appeal to warn all users, explaining the dangers that lurk behind recharging via USB sockets. One of the methods used by cybercriminals to be able to trace and steal data from mobile devices are public charging stations and columns, on which they can also install malware capable of breaking into the security systems of individual devices.

What is juice jacking?

With “juice jacking“, literally “theft of juice”, we mean the set of all those cyber attacks that can be perpetrated through USB, which however also acts as a data connection. The purpose is to extract confidential data from the internal memory or install malware of all kinds. According to experts, Android devices would be more exposed than models made by Apple, but no device can be completely safe from this practice. Data tracking can also take place in a period following the attack, allowing hackers to continue hoarding data and information, without excluding photos and videos contained in the devices.

What are the risks of juice jacking?

The risks of this phenomenon also include the use of “cryptominers“, malicious software that “mines” cryptocurrencies without the knowledge of the device owner; or even spyware or trojans, capable of damaging the device or of the now widespread ransomware that digitally seize data by means of encryption, and then sometimes ask for a ransom of an economic nature.

In a USB socket there are five connectors, among which only one performs the function of recharging the device battery. Since the others are for data transfer, it is explained how cybercriminals can use this gateway for illegal purposes.

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) also warned users that cyber criminals could leave modified cables connected to the tower, which could be used to spread malware directly to devices.

Powerbank sharing as a remedy to juice jacking

The FBI suggests that you always carry the charger or a power bank with you, because this is basically the simplest method to prevent a direct connection via USB cable, thus risking having your data stolen.

Another solution is the powerbank sharing systems which allow the rental of powerbanks through a network of charging stations installed in various businesses and points in the city. The power banks present in mobile charging stations have built-in cables that do not allow data transmission but only the passage of the current necessary for recharging.

Choosing to offer impromptu solutions such as USB sockets means exposing your customers to the risk of data theft which could be avoided through powerbank sharing solutions. By choosing mobile charging stations with integrated power banks, you no longer have to worry about this problem, as the cables incorporated into the batteries eliminate the possibility of computer theft.

More about juice jacking:

‘Juice Jacking’: The Dangers of Public USB Charging Stations

FBI says public phone chargers may put your data at risk: What to know

More about Caricami and powerbank sharing advantages click here

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