The holiday season is already upon us, and with that holidaymakers are set to fly all over the world to visit friends, relatives, and loved ones. This leaves almost everyone vulnerable to travel hacks and other modus operandi especially with your smartphone devices.
Did you know that you can become a victim of cybersecurity when you travel with your smartphone? Yes, even a simple charging of your smartphone on a public charging port, you can be vulnerability to hacking. Here we share some tips about keeping your information secure and safe when travelling.
Security Advisory for Holiday-Makers: Don’t Plug Your Phones in Public Charging Stations
For those who will be jumping from one airport to another, it would be best to stay clear from plugging your gadgets especially smartphones in public charging stations like malls and airports, including those with USB ports, as they could be loaded with malware by criminals and be used to steal the owner’s identity and money, as shared in a report by FlyerTalker.
This scheme is known as Juice Jacking — this growing cyber threat poses serious risks to smartphones, tablets, and computers.
The virus or malware lodged in public charging ports and stations can be transferred to the users’ devices in less than one minute according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Once transferred, the virus starts exporting sensitive data and passwords directly to the scammers.
In line with this, experts suggest that users should use portable charging devices.
Here are some security reminders for travelers who will be flying out this holiday season:
#1 Keep your devices charged.
This is one of the most basic rules when traveling. Whenever you’re going out for a long period, be sure to have your phones or gadgets charged completely. With that, it is also a good idea to keep your phone charging when you are not using it, say while working, sleeping, eating, etc.
#2 Avoid USB chargers.
Aside from steering clear from public charging points, it’s also safe practice to use the AC/DC chargers instead of a USB charger so that there is only one-way charge connection between your device and the charger.
#3 Always bring a power bank or a charger with you.
Many tech brands are offering power banks, which can offer battery life extension so you don’t have to charge elsewhere and to avoid Juice hacking.
#4 Switch off your device when not in use.
This is perhaps the simplest tip you can do to do away from charging in public places. Or if you really have to, granted that you missed out on the other tips above, switch off your device then plug it into the charging port. This way, it will only let the power supply flow and will avoid any data transit. Remember that power supply is one-way flow and the data transfer flows two-way, so when your device is turned off, it won’t transfer any data to the hidden computer systems linked to the public charging stations.
#5 Activate your phone’s security features.
Most of the smartphones today are well-equipped with security features, but people hardly take notice or use them. When you connect your phone to a USB cable, it asks for your permission to transfer the data or not. Click on Cancel when you are using a public kiosk or any other computer you don’t rely on. This will stop any kind of data transfer and only let the power supply flow.
The best way to prevent juice hacking is to be prepared – by charging your phones completely and using a power bank when needed. Also, switching off your phone and activating your gadget’s security feature can help limit the amount of access public charging stations may have on your gadget as you replenish your battery life.
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