Juice Jacking and How to Avoid It

6/27/2023 - By Stephen Reyes, CISA, CISSP

Summertime typically means more travel - which means charging your phone at public stations. But recently, both the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the FBI released security warnings about public charging stations and their unfortunate consequences. 

What is Juice Jacking?  

Juice jacking is when hackers use public charging stations to hack into your phone. Protecting yourself from this is not complicated. The most important thing to remember is to make sure you never plug directly into a public USB charger without using your own power cube at any location, including an airport, hotel, bar, conference center, etc.  

More Tips to Help You Avoid Becoming a Juice Jacking Victim

  • Avoid using a public USB charging station. Use an AC power outlet instead.
  • Bring AC, car chargers and your own USB cables with you when traveling.
  • Carry a portable charger or external battery.
  • Carry a charging-only cable, which prevents data from sending or receiving while charging.
  • If you plug your device into a USB port and a prompt appears gives you options to select "share data" or “charge only,” always select “charge only.”

It is important to stay aware of all the ways hackers will try to steal your information. The most convenient way may not always be the safest way. Learn more about guarding against juice jacking.


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About the Author | Stephen Reyes, CISA, CISSP

Stephen is a shareholder and leader of the Information Technology Services practice of Saltmarsh, Cleaveland & Gund. He joined the firm in 1997 and has been practicing in this field since 1990. His experience includes computer networking and technology consulting. Stephen is a Certified Information Systems Auditor, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and a Cisco Certified Network Associate. He also holds certifications with ISACA, Novell, Citrix and CompTIA. Stephen has assisted a number of financial institutions with IT compliance audits, security audits, as well as system selection, implementation and conversion.

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