FBI warns against using public phone charging stations

Published: Apr. 14, 2023 at 7:01 PM PDT
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WASHOE COUNTY, Nev. (KOLO) - The FBI is urging people to not use public phone charging stations. In a tweet, posted on April 6, because of what the government agency is referring to as “juice jacking.”

The FBI says, hackers have figured out a way to put malware and monitoring software on cell phones and other devices through these ports; often found at airports, hotels, and malls.

Local tech experts at Technology Center Reno say, when you use public charging cords, its almost impossible to tell what type of cord you’re plugging your device into, and to what you’re connecting to, which creates risk.

“It is supposed to be just the power only, but if somebody feels like something may have happened where they made it so they can transfer data back and forth, you want to be careful what you do...hackers are often trying to find ways to steal data,” said Curtis Jones, President at Technology Center Reno. “You can’t necessarily tell from just looking at the cord, what you have, if its going to be your data and data only, or if its going to be data and power,” he said.

Experts and the FBI are advising that people stick to only using their personal charging cords, and if you plug into something, make sure it is solely an electrical outlet.