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Why you shouldn’t use the charging stations at airports




Travellers are warned they should avoid using the free charging stations at airports for security reasons.

It is a common scenario many people have experienced at some point, where travellers are waiting to board a flight and find themselves in need of a charging port to recharge their phones and other portable devices.

While it is tempting to take advantage of the airport’s free charging stations, authorities have warned travellers there are cybersecurity risks involved.

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The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned “bad actors” have discovered ways to introduce malicious software to devices through public USB ports.

“Avoid using free charging stations in airports, hotels or shopping centres,” the FBI’s Denver branch tweeted in April.

“Bad actors have figured out ways to use public USB ports to introduce malware and monitoring software onto devices.

“Carry your own charger and USB cord and use an electrical outlet instead.”

Bad actors have discovered ways to introduce malicious software through public USB ports. File image. Credit: Priscila Zambotto/Getty Images
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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also updated a blog post on the dangers of “juice jacking” at charging stations.

“Cybersecurity experts warn that bad actors can load malware onto public USB charging stations to maliciously access electronic devices while they are being charged,” the organisation said.

“Malware installed through a corrupted USB port can lock a device or export personal data and passwords directly to the perPetrator.

“Criminals can then use that information to access online accounts or sell it to other bad actors.

“In some cases, criminals may have intentionally left cables plugged in at charging stations. There have even been reports of infected cables being given away as promotional gifts.”

Travellers should avoid using free charging stations at airports due to security concerns. File image. Credit: Isabel Pavia/Getty Images

To avoid becoming a victim to juice jacking, travellers are advised to bring their own chargers and charging cables with them.

People are urged to avoid public USB charging stations and to use a power outlet instead.

The FCC also advised Travellers, in the event they do plug their device into a USB port and a prompt appears asking them to either click “share data” or “charge only”, they should always choose the “charge only” option.

Lastly, people are reminded to be wary of public Wi-Fi networks in airports and other public venues, and to avoid conducting any sensitive transactions or purchases while using the public network, the FBI said.