FBI warns against using public charging stations.
With the proliferation of smartphones, people have become more reliant on charging stations available at airports, cafes, and hotels. But according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), this could have serious consequences. Recently, the FBI's Denver office issued a warning to smartphone owners to avoid using free public charging stations and instead carry their own chargers and USB cords that plug into an outlet.
In a tweet, the FBI cautioned people, stating, ''Avoid using free charging stations in airports, hotels, or shopping centers. Bad actors have figured out ways to use public USB ports to introduce malware and monitoring software onto devices. Carry your own charger and USB cord and use an electrical outlet instead.''
Avoid using free charging stations in airports, hotels or shopping centers. Bad actors have figured out ways to use public USB ports to introduce malware and monitoring software onto devices. Carry your own charger and USB cord and use an electrical outlet instead. pic.twitter.com/9T62SYen9T— FBI Denver (@FBIDenver) April 6, 2023
According to the FBI, criminals can infect phones with harmful spyware and software that allows hackers access to private devices by connecting them to open USB ports. After becoming infected, hackers can access data, including passwords, and use it to log into internet accounts or sell it to other nefarious people.
The FBI also warned people to be careful when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks and to avoid conducting any sensitive transactions when using them. It advised examining email addresses in all correspondence and scrutinizing website URLs, as well as thoroughly checking all payment requests and never clicking links in unsolicited emails.
Previously, the FBI issued a warning about the risks associated with "juice jacking," or connecting into a public USB port. Criminals have been known to install contaminated USB ports, which can export user names and passwords from the phone directly to them.
To avoid such scenarios, the FBI recommended creating strong and unique passwords for every online account, regularly updating phones, setting up multi-factor authentication, and keeping an eye out for sophisticated phishing scams.