Why You Should Be Wary of Using Public Charging Docks
It’s very convenient to charge your cell phone in public. Sadly, this is an easy way to get hacked. Find out how to protect yourself from hackers.
With the proliferation of smartphone usage, it seems as if public charging docks are commonplace. Whether it’s at an airport or a café, you can almost always count on there being a convenient place for you to charge your device. However, this leaves your phone vulnerable to hackers.
What is the danger?
A security firm known as Kaspersky Labs recently conducted a study to assess the security (or lack thereof) of these public charging docks. The results? They were able to easily install viruses through the USB cable. The scary part is it took them under three minutes. The study also shows that computers are highly vulnerable for the same reasons.
How does all of this work?
When you plug your phone into these charging docks, your phone leaks some information through the USB cable connected to your device. Hackers can connect their computers or phones to the same charging dock and retrieve the information. Some of the data your phone releases is incredibly private, including the device type, serial number, list of files, and the name of the manufacturer.
How can I protect myself?
- Encrypt your text messages. If you are concerned about the privacy of your text messages, third party apps such as WhatsApp will successfully shield your messages from hackers.
- Protect your phone with a fingerprint ID or a password, and maintain the phone’s lock during its charge. This will make it much harder for the hackers to access your information.
- Constantly check for updates. Your phone company should update your phone with security programs that can help prevent these hacks.
- Antivirus protection. PSafe’s antivirus system vigilantly scans all of your phone files and searches for security breaches.
Easiest of all, don’t plug your phone into these public charging docks. There are mobile phone chargers that are available for purchase that are much safer and inaccessible by hackers.