Neptune Navigate Blog

Tips for online safety, security, and responsible digital citizenship for parents, kids, and families.

NavAlert: Don’t Use Public Charging Stations

April 12, 2023

The FBI and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have issued a warning against using public charging stations, saying that “bad actors” have figured out ways to use public USB ports to introduce malware and monitoring software onto devices. This new type of cybercrime is known as “juice-hacking”.  The FCC cautions people that public charging stations may be infected with malware that can steal personal information and passwords, which criminals can then use to commit fraud or identity theft.

Since many of us enjoy the convenience of charging stations that are so common in places like airports, hotels, and shopping malls, we could easily fall victim to this type of attack.  

According to the FBI and FCC, it is best to avoid using public charging stations altogether. However, if you must use one, they offer the following recommendations to protect yourself:

  • Use a personal, portable charger
  • Make sure your operating system and security software is up to date
  • Bring your own charger and USB cord and only use an electrical outlet you trust
  • Use a “charge-only” cable, which doesn’t allow the transfer of information while being used

Read more in this article from The Hill.