Juice jacking risk at USB charging ports

A new cyber-security scam called “Juice Jacking,” may put your phone and privacy at risk.
Updated: Nov. 20, 2019 at 7:45 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The next time you plug your USB to charge your electronic device at a public place, you could be putting your personal information at risk.

A new cyber-security scam called “Juice Jacking” installs malware on to your phone, putting your entire privacy, data and phone at risk when you plug it in to charge at any USB port in a public location.

USB port chargers have been installed at the Lake Charles Regional Airport for several years, according to Executive Director Heath Allen.

“From a personal standpoint, it’s scary," Allen said. "When you operate a public facility as we do, it’s something that we definitely pay attention to and we always try to strike a balance in having it secure and also have the options of different conveniences for the passenger.”

Allen said the USB port chargers at the Lake Charles airport are safer, but KPLC reached out to the manufacturing company of the USB ports and has yet to hear back.

“Number one, we’re a smaller airport than some of the others," Allen said. "Our building is under 24 hr surveillance. We’ve got 24 hr security so the chance that someone would actually go in and manipulate our devices is probably less.”

Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso said there are several ways to stop juice jacking from occurring, including purchasing a portable battery charger or a USB data blocker.

“Two very simple ways that are proven safe and it won’t happen to you if you have these things,” Sheriff Mancuso said. “I recommend either one of those. One you plug into your phone before you plug it in to a public charger, and one is your own charger so you don’t have to worry about it.”

Sheriff Mancuso said plugging your USB plug is also safe. If you are a victim of juice jacking, you are asked to report it to local authorities of the location of which the juice jacking occurred.

“You need to make sure you monitor your credit cards, and your billing and your checking account regularly,” Sheriff Mancuso said. “And by regularly, I mean once or twice a day. Because the sooner we find out, the sooner we can backtrack and figure out where it originated from.”

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