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الرئيسيةTop NewsIn the US, police have warned against public mobile phone chargers

In the US, police have warned against public mobile phone chargers

It might have happened to you: you are at the airport, hotel, shopping center and your mobile phone is at 3% battery. You plug it into a public charger, one of the often available free terminals, and it doesn’t let you find a black screen and device disabled.

Except plugging it into a USB in public is dangerous. The US Federal Police, FBI, has raised the alarm after malware or surveillance software is introduced into devices. The FBI recommends that you have your charger and USB cord with you, and that you plug your phone into an electrical outlet rather than USB.

Risk of “juice jacking”.

This is the latest example of the US government’s concern over what is known in the US as “juice jacking”. The name given to this cybercrime is where hackers use public USB ports to steal data such as credit card numbers or install malware. The term was coined in 2011 when researchers developed a charging station that demonstrated the risks associated with this type of station. It is still true that today our laptops are our wallets, GPS or photo albums.

Accessing someone’s phone is just as invasive as going home. This is why researchers are investigating the matter, and why the FBI is sounding the alarm. Research shows that a malicious charging station can identify web pages you’ve loaded in your phone’s browser in ten seconds, and one minute of charging time is enough to compromise a phone. Examples of such emptying of bank accounts are everywhere, whether in California, India or Nigeria.

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The director of the Center for Cybersecurity at the University of San Bernardino assures us that we should never swipe our credit cards anywhere, and the same should be done on our laptops. The parallel is technical, because if magnetic strips make bank cards vulnerable, the same applies to USB sockets on chargers, which are older technology. The advice of experts is to adopt newer technology like USB-C or wireless charging, which is more secure.


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