Hackers Hacking Airport USB Ports

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with IDTheftSecurity.com Inc

Have you ever wondered if it’s a good idea to surf the internet using a public WiFi network at the airport? It’s heavily trafficked, so it’s more likely that your information could get stolen, right? In some cases, it is safe to use public WiFi; your information isn’t always entirely at risk if you’re connecting to the airport network but there are definitely vulnerabilities. And, when at the airport, you may want to rethink the urge to plug in your phone using one of the USB charging stations near the gate.

It is possible that cybercriminals could use those stations to download your personal data or install malware onto your device without your knowledge or consent. It’s a crime that’s being called juice jacking.

The IBM Security X-Force Threat Intelligence sector, says that using a public USB port for charging is similar to finding a toothbrush in the street and making the decision to put it in your mouth. You don’t know where the toothbrush has been, and the same applies to that USB port. You don’t know who used it before you and may not be aware that these USB ports can pass along data.

While it is possible for this to happen, it’s not necessarily an epidemic, and there isn’t a reason to panic just yet. There haven’t been widespread reports that juice-jacking has happened in airports (or anywhere else.) However, it could be happening without people knowing, which means it could be a significant issue, and no one knows it yet.

If you don’t like the idea of cybercriminals stealing your information and want to stay safe, do this:

Prevent Juice Jacking

  • Before leaving your house, make sure your phone is fully charged if possible.
  • Buy a second charger that stays with you or in your car at all times, and make a habit of keeping your phone charged while you drive.
  • Of course, there will be times when you’re out and about, and before you realize it, your device has gotten low on power. And it’s time to hunt for a public charging station.
  • Have a cord with you at all times. This will enable you to use a wall socket.
  • Turn off your phone to save batt. But for many people, this will not happen, so don’t just rely only on that tactic.
  • Plug your phone directly into a public socket whenever you can.
  • If you end up using the USB attachment at the station, make a point of viewing the power source. A hidden power source is suspicious.
  • If bringing a cord with you everywhere is too much of a hassle, did you know you can buy a power-only USB cord on which it’s impossible for any data to be transferred?
  • Another option is an external battery pack. This will supply an addition of power to your device.
  • External batteries, like the power-only USB cord, do not have data transfer ability, and thus can be used at any kiosk without the possibility of a data breach.
  • Search “optimize battery settings” iPhone or Android and get to work.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

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Rainmaker
2,034,891
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Robert Siciliano - I do carry a battery back and charge the pack up at the airport.

Jun 27, 2019 09:16 AM #1
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4,021,161
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Robert- I'd heard of this before when the mall in Boca first added the charging stations. I always carry a cord with a wall charger so I can charge my phone and I have an external battery. Your tips are excellent ones. 

Jun 27, 2019 07:58 PM #2
Rainmaker
1,404,943
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Rob,
I am very wary of using any public wifi network!

Jun 28, 2019 11:14 AM #3
Rainmaker
1,494,914
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

I hadn't known about the potential USB issue, so thank you for sharing. 

Jun 29, 2019 03:41 AM #4
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4,021,161
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

                          

                            Thank you, Robert. 

Jun 29, 2019 07:53 PM #5
Ambassador
1,937,902
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Really!  Love that we learn many new things everyday in Active Rain. Add me to the list of the unsuspecting. Thanks for letting us know and have a great Sunday, Rob. 

Jun 30, 2019 07:51 AM #6
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Wow, that's something else to now keep in mind. I now use a battery pack for charing when traveling. Thanks for the tips, Robert!

Jeff

Jun 30, 2019 11:16 AM #7
Rainmaker
825,598
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Thank you for the ideas, had not considered it a problem, but will be more cautious moving forward.

Jun 30, 2019 12:45 PM #8
Rainmaker
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Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Congrats on the feature by Kathy this week.  Wonderful post!

Jul 01, 2019 07:10 AM #9
Rainmaker
1,574,999
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

So sad that we have to think of such things. Fortunately for me, I don't go anywhere often enough to need anything charged, but I'm going to send a link to your post to my son. He's out and about all day every day.

 

Jul 01, 2019 08:57 PM #10
Rainmaker
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Liane Thomas -Top Listing Agent
Professional Realty Services® International - Corona, CA
Bringing you Home!

Just heard about this on the news yesterday. 

Aug 30, 2019 07:26 AM #11
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Robert Siciliano

Realty Security and Identity Theft Expert Speaker
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