I wish I would have known this BEFORE I went on vacation! I found myself looking down at my phone to see the almost empty rectangle box warning me that my battery was about to die. You’ve been there before. What only 3%?! Quick where can I top up? At the airport I noticed a public outlet and popped my USB charger to juice it back to life. Apparently not a good thing according to Drew Paik of the security firm Authentic8.
In the same way that your USB cord can download photos from your phone to your computer, that cord can also transmit data between your phone and a compromised outlet—allowing a hacker to access your text messages, photos, contacts and email.
Since there’s no way to tell whether or not a public outlet or charging station has been compromised, you should avoid plugging your phone into one in the future.
Here are a few more tips to help protect your phone:
- This one is a no-brainer, but try to charge your phone at home as much as possible so there’s less need to charge it in public.
- Buy a portable USB battery pack and make sure it’s always in your purse.
- Invest in a USB cord that doesn’t transmit data like most charging cords.
- In a pinch, if you need to charge in a public outlet make sure your phone is locked with a PIN or a password. That way your phone shouldn’t pair with any device it may be connected to, according to howtogeek.com