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Cybersecurity May 02, 2023

What you need to know about this cyber-attack called ‘juice jacking’

Have you seen charging stations in public spaces before? These kiosks are typically found in malls, hotels, terminals, and convenience stores which allows people to charge their mobile phones when they run low on batteries.


Public charging stations are useful especially for those who rely on their mobile phones for work and everyday life, but these charging stations can also be used by cybercriminals to hack illegally or “juice jack” into a user’s device.


As such, Filipinos are cautioned by experts and authorities against using USB (universal serial bus) ports at free charging stations in public because they might fall victim to “juice jacking.”


What is juice jacking?


Juice jacking is a type of cyber-attack where cybercriminals tamper with charging ports to inject malware into devices. The malware tricks users into providing access to their mobile devices, therefore, allowing cybercriminals to access their sensitive information such as bank accounts and credit card details easily. 


How does juice jacking work?

This cyber-attack uses USB ports to transfer the malware into a user’s phone or device, according to cybersecurity companies Palo Alto Networks and Kasperksy.

How to avoid being a victim of juice jacking?


Here’s how you can avoid juice jacking, according to the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP ACG) and Federal Communications Commission:


  1. Bring your own charger or power bank anywhere you go to keep your mobile phone’s battery from running low. This way, you can be sure that your device is safe and secured compared to charging your phone from an unknown power source.


  1. Get a power-only USB cable. There are different kinds of cable you can use for your phone. There is one for receiving and sending data and one used for charging or both. To prevent malware transfer, use a cable that only charges your phone but does not allow data transfer.


  1. If you plug your device into a USB port and it asks you whether to “share data” or “charge only,” always select the “charge only” option.


  1. Install anti-malware applications on your phone for an added layer of security.


If you’re a frequent user of charging stations, make sure that the USB ports you are using are secured. As much as possible, charge your phone from a credible power source to prevent your sensitive data from being stolen.


To avoid “juice jacking” risks, keep your devices charged at all times or bring a charger or power bank in your bag. These days, cyber-attacks are evolving and so should our cyber security measures. Be #CyberSafe!