FBI Says You Shouldn’t Use Public Phone Charging Stations


Miami International Airport, Recharge bar, charging station for electronic devices. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Jeff Greenberg | Universal Image Group | Getty Images

The FBI recently warned consumers against using free public charging stations, saying bad actors have successfully hijacked public chargers that could infect devices with malware or software that allows hackers to access your phone, tablet or computer.

“Avoid using free charging stations at airports, hotels, or shopping malls,” said a tweet from the FBI’s Denver field office. “Bad actors have found ways to use public USB ports to introduce malware and surveillance software to devices. Bring your own USB charger and cord and use an electrical outlet instead.”

The FBI offers similar tips on its website to avoid public chargers. The bulletin did not report any recent cases of consumer harm from juice jacking, and the FBI did not immediately return a request for comment on what prompted the recall from its Denver office.

The Federal Communications Commission has also warned against “juice jacking”, as the pattern of loading malware is known, since 2021.

Consumer devices with compromised USB cables can be hacked through software that can then siphon usernames and passwords, the FCC warned at the time. The FCC has told consumers to avoid these public stations.

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