Here's why you should never use public charging ports to charge your phone

Here's why you should never use public charging ports to charge your phone

In today's society we are rarely without our smartphones and our need to stay connected at all times can come with hidden risks, particularly when it comes to charging your phone in public places.

These public charging ports may seem like a quick and convenient solution to topping up your battery when you're on the go, but there are several reasons why you should refrain from plugging in. These are the main reasons why you should prioritise a personal portable battery, or simply wait until you are in a secure place to charge your device. 

One of the main risks from using public charging ports is the potential for a security breach. A technique known as "juice jacking" is often used by cybercriminals to use these ports to gain access to users' devices. Through tampering with the charging station or using a modified USB cable, hackers can install malware or extract sensitive data from connected devices. USB cables can both charge and transfer data, so it is relatively easy to access someone's device as soon as they connect. The victim will be unaware, as the device will still be charged whilst connected, so it won't necessarily look abnormal. 

Similarly, malware can be installed on your device through the same cable. This malware can track your activities, steal your data and even brick your device so that it is no longer usable. This type of intrusion is hard to detect, fortunately, anti-virus software is available for mobile devices, such as Kapersky anti-virus for PC and Android.

Another major danger from using public charging ports is the risk to your bank accounts, and social media profiles. Essentially, as soon as someone has gained illegal access to your phone, it won't be difficult for them to access any accounts that you have connected to your device. Cybercriminals can exploit compromised devices to access your accounts, make unauthorised transactions or even impersonate you online.

To reduce the risks associated with public charging ports, it is essential to be proactive when it comes to device security. Whenever possible you should avoid using these public charging points and use a safer alternative, such as carrying a portable power bank, or using your own wall adapter to charge your phone directly from a power outlet. You could also purchase a "charging-only" USB cable that doesn't allow for data transfers. This would minimise the risk of malware if you were in a situation where a public charging port was your only option. Another possibility is carrying an old mobile phone with you that you keep charged, but turned off, as an emergency backup that you can use to contact friends and family if you really need to.