Juice jacking is a relatively new form of cybersecurity risk that could open you up to attacks. Juice-jacking occurs when hackers tap into free charging stations located in parking lots and off-ramps to steal your personal, sensitive information while they juice their devices.
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What is Juice Jacking?
Juice jacking is the practice of stealing data from a computer or mobile device by plugging in a modified USB cable that allows the attacker to control the device remotely.
The name is derived from “juice jacking,” which is slang for plugging a phone or tablet into a charger that has been modified by an attacker with malware. The infection can then take over the gadget and steal the information.
Juice jacking attacks have been available since at least 2008 when researchers discovered that some USB cables were vulnerable to this type of attack. In 2011, another researcher found that an attacker could plug an infected cable into a computer and use it to gain access to all files on the machine, even those stored on encrypted hard drives.
How Juice Jacking Works?
Juice jacking is a relatively new form of cyberattack that could compromise your phone’s data and leave it susceptible to malware. The hacker can then use this stolen information for nefarious purposes, such as stealing money from your bank account or sending out texts from your phone.
Juice jacking works by taking advantage of the fact that many smartphones have their USB ports turned on even when they’re not charging, which means they’re still connected to the internet. The hacker will then plug a malicious charger into an available power outlet near where you’re sitting. This charger will look identical to your own, so you won’t notice anything suspicious at first glance.
Once the charger has been plugged in, the hacker can then access your phone through its USB port and take control of any files stored on it including photos, videos, and even text messages. Some juice jacking attacks may also be able to access other devices connected to your phone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connections, allowing them to hijack those devices as well.
What to Do If You’re Victimized?
The best thing you can do if your phone is juice-jacked is to immediately disconnect it from any power sources. If the phone is connected to a laptop, disconnect it from the computer. Unplug any chargers that are connected to an adapter.
If your phone was juice jacked and you’re still able to access it, take these steps:
- Check to see if your device’s system software is up to date. If it isn’t already updated, do so as soon as feasible.
- Disable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi if they aren’t being used.
- Turn off any apps that are running in the background or that you aren’t using this time (such as email). These apps use power even when they don’t appear on the screen and could drain your battery faster than necessary.
- Use airplane mode until you can get back home and fully charge your phone safely again.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
The best way to protect yourself against juice-jackers is by not using public USB ports at all. If you absolutely must use one, make sure it’s plugged into a power source that isn’t going anywhere (like an outlet in an airport). Also, make sure the cable you’re using has been inspected for any suspicious activity.
You can also install antivirus software on all of your devices, which will detect any malicious code trying to take over your phone or tablet. You must enable two-factor authentication on all accounts that support it (e.g., Google, Twitter, Facebook). Finally it is recommended to use a trustworthy VPN like AdGuard. The AdGuard VPN keeps your data private without affecting your internet connection speed. Thus, it disguises itself as regular traffic, making detection and blocking difficult.
Juice jacking is a simple scam that relies on users not paying attention to what they are plugging into their computers or mobile devices. Help yourself and your friends by spreading the word about juice-jacking, so no one in your life falls victim to these scams.