Travellers warned of ‘juice jacking’ scams that lock phones, steal data at free USB charging ports

Be careful when you charge your handphone at some public places. Your data might be stolen without you knowing it.

According to a news on traveller AU, a warning is issued to travellers using Los Angeles International Airport.

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office is warning travellers using Los Angeles International Airport of a new scheme targeting people who need a quick boost at public USB charging stations. The USB charging scam, also known as “juice jacking,” involves hackers spoofing charging stations to steal information.

Similar to credit-card skimming, fake charging stations are set up via port or cable, and unknowing users who plug into them expose their devices to malware attacks that can lock their devices and export sensitive contents such as passwords and bank account numbers into the hands of waiting information thieves.

“#ICYMI: Avoid using public USB charging stations at airports and other locations,” the district attorney’s office wrote on Twitter.

Deputy District Attorney Luke Sisak says investigators from his office have seen scammers whom they know to be involved in identity-theft schemes with the software and hardware capable of performing the “juice jacking” scam. He says his office wants to give travellers the information they need to protect themselves.

“It’s something that people should be aware is possible,” he said. “And they mostly don’t know that it is.”

Sometimes phone security is taken for granted, he says, along with the knowledge that the phone’s charging port is also how the phone sends and receives data.