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BigAl01
Volunteer Moderator

Have you heard of 'juice jacking'?

Planning to travel? No doubt you'll have your cell phone or another portable device, and you'll need to re-charge it at some point.

If your battery is running low, be aware that juicing up your electronic device at free USB port charging stations, such as those found in airports and hotel lobbies, might have unfortunate consequences. You could become a victim of "juice jacking," yet another cyber-theft tactic.

Cybersecurity experts warn that bad actors can load malware onto public USB charging stations to maliciously access electronic devices while they are being charged. Malware installed through a corrupted USB port can lock a device or export personal data and passwords directly to the perpetrator. Criminals can then use that information to access online accounts or sell it to other bad actors.  Read more here.

Personally, I don't think my iPhone(s) have ever been compromised, but you can never know for sure.  I've used a USB charging port at a couple of airports in Europe and never experienced a problem to my knowledge.  Has anyone in the forum had their smartphone corrupted with malware and wondered how it happened?

 

As Albert Einstein said, "I could have done so much more with a Big Al's Computer!".
11 Replies
johnnyenglish
Grandmaster

I was actually planning to do a short video about it since I have a ISDP training package.

For frequent travelers a small powerbank should filter all the bad things before it gets to your phone or a USB cable with no data wires, however, recent phones won't like these simple cables, thus not charging.

There are some modified androids or developer options that can block file transfer in the settings.

Charging the phone with it powered off in theory should not allow for software injection, at least in my preliminary testing, it didn't.

johnnyenglish_0-1700692674066.png

 

The Englishman

Every time I charge my iPhone, it turns on if it was previously off.  I know of no way to charge an iPhone when it's off.

As Albert Einstein said, "I could have done so much more with a Big Al's Computer!".

Oh, sorry. I completely forgot iPhone. I'll dig into it a bit to see since we have PRO MAX 14 as standard at our office.

 


I'm the ugly duckling there, I have the RoG phone. They say... its just the Local IT guy. 🤣

The Englishman
Axxemann
Forerunner

When in doubt, set USB to charge only. But then again, I seldom, almost NEVER use public charge points. Phone will either die, or sit in the car until charged. 😉

Performance over Pretty.
BigAl01
Volunteer Moderator

That's a good idea.  I looked in my 'settings' and I cannot find a setting to change the USB to charge only.  Does anyone know how to find that on the iPhone?

As Albert Einstein said, "I could have done so much more with a Big Al's Computer!".
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So lemme get this straight: You build some of the wildest PCs ever seen, have probably spent some time messing with Linux, and you use an iPhone? Android FTW 😉

Performance over Pretty.
BigAl01
Volunteer Moderator

The iPhone infrastructure has been very very good to me.  I like the camera the most.  I have 117 GB of photos on it right now.  Too much?

As Albert Einstein said, "I could have done so much more with a Big Al's Computer!".

🤦‍:male_sign:🤦‍:male_sign:🤦‍:male_sign:🤦‍:male_sign:🤦‍:male_sign:🤦‍:male_sign:🤦‍:male_sign:

Performance over Pretty.

Look for:

USB Rstricted Mode, it was quietly introduced in 2018

"USB Restricted Mode works like this: after an hour of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch sitting without being unlocked, iOS will basically cut off the Lightning port and limit it to charging only. This hour timeout should theoretically stop devices like GrayKey (which plugs into an iPhone and cracks the passcode within a few hours) from working successfully."

The Englishman
otacon
Adept III

I have only heard of these kind of attacks targeting journalists or government officials. Regardless, you can buy power only USB cables. They will only charge at the base USB levels, but you can be confident there is no possibility of data transfer.

jhonmarton
Journeyman III

Thanks for sharing this valuable insight about 'juice jacking.' It's concerning how something as routine as charging our devices can expose us to cyber threats. While I haven't encountered issues with my iPhone during travels, your reminder highlights the importance of staying vigilant against cybercrime and criminal records.
Has anyone else here experienced malware on their smartphone, particularly when using public USB charging stations

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