VERIFY: Can your mobile data can be stolen when using airport USB charging ports?

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We've all had our phones run out of juice at the airport. Is it actually safe to plug your charger into one of the airport USBs?

WASHINGTON — The internet is filled with all sort of tips. Our Verify team works to help you sort out which ones are actually worth your time. 

A recent Facebook post warns that “airport USB charging stations [are] infected with malware which can steal your data!!”

(Facebook)

So, is your data really at risk of being stolen?

To find out, we spoke with Trojan Horse Security Chief Information Officer Alexander Jones, who explained the post is talking about “Juice Jacking.”

Jones says “Juice Jacking” happens when a hacker installs spyware on a free public charging terminal and then someone plugs their phone into the station, their data is downloaded, malware is uploaded…or both.

However, Apple-certified technician, co-founder of ITechShark, Sayed Ahmed said it may be harder for hackers to manipulate Apple devices. Ahmed says this is because your phone has the option to choose whether or not to allow data access once you connect your phone to charge. 

Regardless of if it’s enabled, your device can still charge. 

(https://support.apple.com)

Still, it’s safer to avoid using public charging stations. In fact, our experts say bring your power wall plug and use an electrical outlet instead.

But, if you absolutely have to use a public charging station, turn your phone off, then plug it in to charge–but even that’s not 100% fail-safe. 

So we verified, yes, your data can be hacked if you use an airport USB charging station.

Keep in mind, juice jacking doesn’t discriminate. 

The threat is equal at any public charging station on all types of phones and devices because, the USB cable is where your power and data streams passes.

The latest IBM Security research shows, in particular transportation industry has become the second most attacked industry where cyber criminals strike.

             
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