Report: Charging Your Phone at the Airport Is a Significant Security Risk

Cybercriminals are on the prowl

Report: Charging Your Phone at the Airport Is a Significant Security Risk
By Tanner Garrity / May 30, 2019 4:43 pm

Bad news for anyone who’s ever desperately searched an airport terminal for a charger: it might be time to go cold turkey on those handy public charging stations.

According to IBM’s yearly X-Threat Intelligence report, which assesses cybercriminal targets, travel and transportation is now the second most attacked industry. Since January 2018, an insane 566M online records have been compromised while a user was traveling.

Public USB ports are at significant risk, as cybercriminals can hop on to the connection and target any phone plugged-in thereafter with viruses, worms and spyware or steal and transmit your data. X-Threat’s VP Caleb Barlow dropped this particularly graphic quote on the matter: “Plugging into a public USB port is kind of like finding a toothbrush on the side of the road and deciding to stick it in your mouth. You have no idea where that thing has been.” Sheesh. We just wanted to juice up for some tunes on the flight.

Barlow also warned about plugging into random chargers waiting for you at ports. Airports don’t generally supply chargers, so if you come across one, it was either forgotten by a fellow traveler, or left as a trap to attack your device. Do NOT use it.

If you must use the public port, pick up a Juice-Jack Defender, which attaches to any plug and prevents the flow of malware. But you’re probably better served just becoming a portable charger person. We recommend picking up the PowerCore from Anker.

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