FBI warns against public charging stations

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has issued a warning to consumers against using free public charging stations, as hackers have found ways to hijack public chargers and introduce malware and monitoring software into devices. This can potentially give cybercriminals access to sensitive information stored on phones, tablets, or computers.

The FBI’s Denver field office took to Twitter to advise consumers to avoid using free charging stations in airports, hotels, or shopping centers, and instead carry their own charger and USB cord and use an electrical outlet instead. The warning is meant to raise awareness, and no specific case has prompted it.

The scheme, known as “juice jacking”, has also been flagged by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) since 2021. The FCC cautioned consumers about compromised USB cables that can be used to hijack devices and steal usernames and passwords. To prevent such attacks, the FCC has advised the public to avoid using public stations.

The FBI’s website provides additional advice on how to stay safe while connected to the internet. To protect your systems and data, the FBI recommends keeping systems and software up to date, installing strong antivirus software, and creating strong and unique passphrases for each online account. It is also important to avoid opening attachments from unverified senders.

To protect your connections, it is recommended that you be careful when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network and avoid conducting sensitive transactions on public networks. Along with the advice on public charging stations, the FBI also advises examining the email address in all correspondence and scrutinizing website URLs, being extra cautious of messages that urge immediate action, and making online purchases with a credit card for an extra layer of protection against fraud.

Consumers are also urged not to send money to any person they meet online or allow a person they don’t know well to access their bank account to transfer money in or out.

The sources for this piece include an article in CNBC.

IT World Canada Staff
IT World Canada Staff
The online resource for Canadian Information Technology professionals.

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