USB phone charging a security risk?

Many modern cellular phone use USB plug for charging and many places offer nowadays charging possibility. But plugging your phone into an untrusted USB cable is, indeed, a security risk according to Juicejacking – an emergency phone charge can be a security risk article. The article fortunately tells that it’s easy to avoid the risk in both directions: Always carry and use the charging adapter which came with your device and use it instead of charging station. It’s a lot safer than trusting an unknown cable hanging out of an unknown cabinet in a public place


1 Comment

  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Please stop charging your phone in public ports

    I know the feeling: Your battery is low, but you have to keep tweeting. You see a USB port or an outlet in public, plug in your device and feel the sweet relief of your phone charging.

    That comfort could be shattered by an invisible attacker collecting information while your phone is plugged in to a hacked outlet.

    “Just by plugging your phone into a [compromised] power strip or charger, your device is now infected, and that compromises all your data,” Drew Paik of security firm Authentic8 explained. Authentic8 makes Silo, a secure browser that anonymizes web activity.

    Public charging stations and wi-fi access points are found in places like airports, planes, conference centers and parks, so people can always have access to their phones and data. But connecting your phone to an unknown port has its risks.

    The cord you use to charge your phone is also used to send data from your phone to other devices.

    If a port is compromised, there’s no limit to what information a hacker could take, Paik explained.

    And yet despite the risks, people do it all the time. Even at prominent security conferences.

    The company ran an informal social experiment to see how many people would use the public charging stations. Paik said an overwhelming number of attendees — about 80% — connected their phones without asking about the security.

    “The majority are plugging in no problem. They are at a security conference and they should know better, but they probably feel safe,” he said. “The others are making fun of them. They just walk by and say, ‘Do people really do that?’”


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