HEADLINES

Phone Charging Can Lead to Data Theft

 

Most of us have learned to be careful with our data. If you use outside WiFi, you probably are careful about public networks and you have also probably learned to not open email attachments, or to answer emails promising Nigerian riches. Here at the HamletHub we have tried to keep you informed of the latest schemes from ATM skimming to unsecured connections. Every time we think we have heard it all, a new scam comes along as thieves get creative. This one was especially new to us: "juice jacking" or stealing data from your phone while it is being charged.

Mobile devices, particularly Apple phones, that can be charged using a USB port connection, also sync data as they charge, and therein lies a potential problem. These devices are susceptible to data theft when they are charged, according to internet security expert Brian Krebs. Luckily though, there is a device which can minimize or prevent these thefts. It is called, brace yourself, a "USB condom."

Pictured above, the device is placed at the end of your USB charging cord, which is then plugged into the USB jack, blocking the theft of your data. Krebs tested two brands of the device, "Juice Jack Defender," in pre-order and available through their website and the "USB Condom" available now. Krebs liked both devices, though he describes the "Juice Jack Defender" as "feeling sturdier."

Of course there are other charging options if you are traveling and your battery gets low. It should be noted that the standard wall jack type of charger provided with most phones is not susceptible to data theft, at least not yet. Many airport newsstands and other traveler convenience stores also offer "on the go" battery packs.

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