Hackers can use public USB chargers to steal personal data. Here’s what you need to know about ‘juice jacking’

usb charger

(Lucian Alexe, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Charlotte Edmond, Formative Content,


  • Charging your phone at public USB points like those in airports may put you at risk of ‘juice jacking’
  • Hackers can steal your data and passwords in public locations
  • The Los Angeles District Attorney has warned about USB charger scams

We all know the feeling of panic when your mobile phone is about to die when you’re out and about – and the feeling of relief when you find a convenient place to give it a power boost.

But security experts are urging people to think twice before plugging in. “Juice jacking” – or using public USB connections to introduce malware to smartphones and other devices – is an increasingly popular ploy by cyber criminals.

 

Travellers are advised to stop charging their mobile phones and devices at public USB charging points like those found at airports and hotels because of the risk they present. The Los Angeles District Attorney recently issued a warning about fraud due to USB charger scams.

What is the World Economic Forum doing on cybersecurity

The World Economic Forum Platform for Shaping the Future of Cybersecurity and Digital Trust aims to spearhead global cooperation and collective responses to growing cyber challenges, ultimately to harness and safeguard the full benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The platform seeks to deliver impact through facilitating the creation of security-by-design and security-by-default solutions across industry sectors, developing policy frameworks where needed; encouraging broader cooperative arrangements and shaping global governance; building communities to successfully tackle cyber challenges across the public and private sectors; and impacting agenda setting, to elevate some of the most pressing issues.

Platform activities focus on three main challenges:

Strengthening Global Cooperation for Digital Trust and Security – to increase global cooperation between the public and private sectors in addressing key challenges to security and trust posed by a digital landscape currently lacking effective cooperation at legal and policy levels, effective market incentives, and cooperation between stakeholders at the operational level across the ecosystem.Securing Future Digital Networks and Technology – to identify cybersecurity challenges and opportunities posed by new technologies and accelerate solutions and incentives to ensure digital trust in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.Building Skills and Capabilities for the Digital Future – to coordinate and promote initiatives to address the global deficit in professional skills, effective leadership and adequate capabilities in the cyber domain.

The platform is working on a number of ongoing activities to meet these challenges. Current initiatives include our successful work with a range of public- and private-sector partners to develop a clear and coherent cybersecurity vision for the electricity industry in the form of Board Principles for managing cyber risk in the electricity ecosystem and a complete framework, created in collaboration with the Forum’s investment community, enabling investors to assess the security preparedness of target companies, contributing to raising internal cybersecurity awareness.

For more information, please contact info@c4c-weforum.org.

“A free charge could end up draining your bank account,” Deputy District Attorney Luke Sisak warns, adding the malware has the ability to lock devices and share passwords with hackers.

Cyber sneaks

The vulnerability of USB chargers, combined with the rise in sophisticated malware targeting smartphones, is something security experts have warned against for some years. Back in 2016, the FBI issued a nationwide warning after one particular piece of hardware, KeySweeper, was used to steal keystrokes from nearby wireless keyboards.

USB cables left in charging points are particularly risky, drawing in people who may not be carrying their own cable.

Preventing malware and ransomware is the biggest cyber security challenge, followed by identifying vulnerabilities.
Image: Statista

A recent report from security software firm BlackBerry highlighted the risks our mobile phone opens us up to. Hackers take advantage of the fact we tend to be more trusting of these devices than we are of desktop computers. The report cites espionage campaigns that have targeted Pakistan’s military and government through fake apps.

Have you been the victim of a malware infection on your mobile device.
Image: Statista

Practice safe charging

There are a few steps you can take to keep your mobile phone or device charged and safe on the move – including investing in a USB condom. These small devices prevent cables from transferring data, and limit them to accessing the power source.

Other tips include making sure your device is fully charged before you go out, using standard plug power outlets rather than USB charging stations and using portable, personal chargers for emergencies.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Ride-hailing apps are making the developing world’s traffic problems worse

UN chief condemns deadly Burkina Faso mosque attack

It’s time to build a responsible media supply chain

5 technologies that will forever change global trade

MEPs approve deal on tap water and demand that EU water legislation be respected

Special measures for Greece: 100% absorption rate

EU opens a third antitrust file against Google

Student Tutor Ratio: at a glance

TTIP’s 11th round starts in Miami but EU-US businesses see no sunny side

Overseas investment falling, developing countries largely unscathed: UN trade agency

Presentation of Juncker’s Investment Plan: Can 315 billion euros save the EU?

Switzerland to introduce strict restrictions on executive pay

Final vote on European Solidarity Corps

How private equity can fund the fight against climate change

New chapters in EU-China trade disputes

Car emissions: MEPs set end on gap between lab and real driving emission tests

Importance of teaching ethics in Brazilian Medical Schools

Fossil fuel support is rising again in a threat to climate change efforts

Thursday’s Daily Brief: ambulance attack in Libya, #GlobalGoals defenders, human rights in Cambodia, Swine Fever

At global health forum, UN officials call for strong, people-focused health systems

A challenge for inclusion in the Dominican Republic’s health care services

The European Parliament declares climate emergency

UN rights expert calls for civilian protection as fighting escalates between military and armed group

How water scarcity triggers the refugee crisis – and what tech can do to solve it

The Sting’s Values

Assembly of European Regions @ European Business Summit 2014: The European regions on the path to recovery

Tobacco-free Public Space in Africa’s Most Populous Country

UN chief welcomes event reuniting families on the Korean Peninsula

On Youth Education: “Just a normal day in the life of a medical student”

Distributed ownership: what it means and how it could transform India

How digital can transform healthcare in Asia for millions of people

Climate change and health: public health awareness in an international framework

The digital skills gap is widening fast. Here’s how to bridge it

4 eco-friendly products put sustainable spins on classic practices, from teacups to hankies

UN expert condemns new sentence for jailed Venezuelan judge as ‘another instance of reprisal’

The Eurogroup has set Cyprus on fire

GSMA Announces New Speakers for Mobile 360 Series – Middle East and North Africa

Security Council renews Central African Republic arms embargo

Are e-cigarettes as safe as they claim to be?

MEPs back first EU management plan for fish stocks in the Western Mediterranean

Record-breaking heatwaves killed about 1,500 people in France

Global initiative launched to keep top sports events safe from terrorism

Is blockchain overhyped? 5 challenges to getting projects off the ground

EU-U.S. Privacy Shield: Second review shows improvements but a permanent Ombudsperson should be nominated by 28 February 2019

Brussels waits for the Germans to arrive

Who is to lose from the 6-month extension of the EU economic sanctions against Russia?

10 start-ups that are helping to change the Arab world

EU: All economic indicators in free fall

This is how we can make a global green recovery – that also boosts the economy

EU and Airbus Member States take action to ensure full compliance in the WTO aircraft dispute

How cities around the world are handling COVID-19 – and why we need to measure their preparedness

Disillusioned young people – France thinks it has a solution

Women in Iceland have walked out of work to dispute the gender pay gap

Africa-Europe Alliance: two new financial guarantees under the EU External Investment Plan

Nordic companies prove doing good is good for the bottom line

MEPs spell out priorities for the European Central Bank and on banking union

More efforts needed to boost trust in business and finance

EU-Japan trade agreement enters into force

Youth Forum calls on Parliament to ease entry into Europe for young people

“Smoking steam instead of tobacco, are the E-cigarettes a safer alternative?”

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s