Juice jacking: why you should be very careful when recharging your mobile in public USB ports and how to avoid problems

Juice jacking: why you should be very careful when recharging your mobile in public USB ports and how to avoid problems, Our dependence on mobile phones has often caused us to find ourselves in that dreaded situation in which we are about to run out of battery .

To alleviate the problem, many public places such as restaurants, trains or airports offer USB charging ports , but be careful, because use them without taking some precautions Previous can be a very bad idea.

When the ports do more than charge Theoretically these charging ports are an excellent idea, and allow a hurry we can recharge the device to be able to use it normally again.

The problem is that these public ports are accessible to everyone, and that means that cybercriminals can take advantage of this free access to modify them and turn them into ports capable of installing malware while we are loading those devices.

The same goes for cables connected almost as carelessly to these ports, as if someone had left them there. Using those cables is also dangerous , and can lead to serious problems for our data and our device.

This technique is known as juice-jacking , a term coined by the security expert Brian Krebs in 2011 and allows, as we say, that a cyber attacker installs malware on your devices, in addition to being able to modify those ports to achieve copy sensitive data from our mobile such as passwords or personal information.

In a USB 3.0 port we have the four traditional pins (at the top), while we also have pins for those higher transfer speeds (SSTX refers to SuperSpeed ​​transmission and SSRX to SuperSpeed ​​reception).

The operation of this technique is simple if we consider that a USB port does much more than a port to recharge our mobile: these The connectors are based on four pins -although more recent versions have increased this configuration while maintaining the original ones-, of which two are used to recharge a device and another two for data transfers .

Avoiding the problem It is not recommended to use these ports to recharge the device unless we are very needy, but if We have no alternative, we must make sure that when we connect them the data transfer option of our device is not activated.

So, you have to have the load option active without further ado , something that is the default option in Android, but just in case it should be verified when we connect these devices to one of these ports.

It may be that when connecting the device to the port on the screen of that device a message will appear asking us if we trust that device. You always have to answer that no to that question, that if it appears on a public USB port, it should actually make us suspect that something strange is happening there.

Safe recharges away from home Fortunately, when it comes to recharging our mobile devices they have been appearing numerous alternatives that allow not having to depend (at least not totally) on finding a public port in which to recharge the device.

Among them is of course that of carrying an external battery that allows us to recharge the mobile in these situations. There are many and very diverse models with very different capacity and power delivery, so that we can choose from the 5 small models. 000 mAh to batteries more designed for long trips that usually have 20. 000 mAh capacity or more.

The other option is to take with us our own adapter / charger, which can be the same one we use at home or it can be an auxiliary one. It is even interesting to acquire an additional one that may not load as fast as the official one of our mobile or tablet, but we do recommend that it have a striking option if we use it out of face: the overload protection , which avoids problems when connecting to outlets in public places.

There is another curious element in this area: USB “condoms” which are small adapters with a male and female USB-A connection that basically block the possibility of data being transferred through them, but that do allow current to pass through. They are an equally interesting option to be able to use the public recharging ports without fear that they will steal data or install malware from them.

If our device has wireless charging We can always opt for that option as well, either with a charger that we connect to those public ports – and they will not be able to transfer data – or with another device that has reverse wireless charging , something that is gradually available on some high-end devices.