Cybercriminals can modify the USB connections to install malware

By Ben Young

AAA World Article

We've all used them from time-to-time before a flight—the public USB charging stations scattered around airports. And while they're incredibly convenient, using a public charging station comes with hidden dangers that could impact your identity and personal information.

According to a recent investigation by Forbes, cybercriminals can modify the USB connections on public charging stations to install malware on our phone or to download your personal data without your knowledge or consent. To avoid this, plug your USB charging cable into your own charging plug—or better yet, bring a personal power pack.

Another solution recommended by Forbes is to purchase a Juice-Jack Defender, which is a $10 dongle that is placed at the end of your charging cord. This dongle blocks any data from passing through the cord and instead only passes voltage, allowing for a more secure charge.

While most travelers likely believe they won't be a USB charging station target, a recent 2019 IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index revealed that the transportation industry has become a priority target for cybercriminals. The transportation industry is the second-most attacked industry—up from tenth in 2017.