AirTalk®

Lively and in-depth discussions of city news, politics, science, entertainment, the arts, and more. Hosted by Larry Mantle

‘Juice-jacking:’ how hackers steal your private data from public charging stations

by AirTalk®

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Migrants charge their phones as they use wifi at a refugee transit camp as as they wait to cross the border into the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on October 21, 2015 in Idomeni, Greece. Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Before fighting everyone in the room to plug your smartphone into the communal charger: please don’t.

Or at least, beware.

Coffee shops, airports and almost every other kind of public meeting space have become regular safe havens whenever we’re desperate for that extra juice. But with the ubiquity of USB ports built into today’s phone chargers, this flow of “juice” isn’t just power anymore - it’s data. Important data.

All it takes is one easily disguised charging kiosk, or even a power strip, for hackers to hijack your charge, and once you’re juice-jacked, there’s little that can be done to stop it; from installing malware onto your device, to sucking out personal messages, photos and information - all for the simple cost of offering sweet-relief and a fully-powered phone. But how?

Host Larry Mantle speaks to Brian Markus, a leading expert on juice-jacking, about the risks of using these communal ports and helpful tips on protecting your personal information.

Guest:

Brian Markus, CEO of Aries Security; he co-invented the first “juice-jacking” demonstration at international hacking conference DEF CON in 2011

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