Smartphone users warned about a scam that can steal data and passwords

Smartphone users warned about a scam that can steal data and passwords
Although smartphone manufacturers have been putting larger batteries into their phones, today's handsets also require more juice to get through the average day. And now that 5G is being tested in limited markets, some consumers are still looking for an outlet during the day, even if just to top off their phone's battery. But that old nautical saying "any port in a storm" is not exactly good advice when it comes to charging a mobile device. At least according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. The latter published an online post warning consumers about a "USB Charger Scam."

The scam, also known as "juice jacking," involves the installation of malware onto these charging stations or the cables that are purposely left plugged in them. The DA's report says that the malware can lock down a phone plugged into an infected charging station or using an infected cable. Or, even worse, data and passwords can be stolen from the phone by the scammer.


The warning mentions public USB charging stations found in "airports, hotels and other locations." While the warning might be meant for those in Los Angeles only, it is good advice for smartphone users everywhere. We would suggest that if you depend on your phone all day, you purchase a power bank and use your own cables. You can pick up a 10000mAh unit for less than $10 at Amazon. For example, the Go4Pwr 10000mAh Power Bank is priced at $9.59. If you need a larger bank, Walmart has a 20000mAh power bank on sale for $13.99, 46% off the list price of $25.99.

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4 Comments

1. markbyrn

Posts: 8; Member since: Jan 14, 2019

This is old ignorant FUD but if you're that paranoid but bizarrely leave your Phone in a USB debugging mode, you can buy a $10 dongle to block data transfer while charging.

2. blastertoad

Posts: 50; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Many mid-high to flagship model android devices have to option to set usb to charge only mode. Also yes anyone who leaves their phone in usb debugging mode or allows apk installs should never use any public equipment that may interface with their device.

3. RevolutionA

Posts: 473; Member since: Sep 30, 2017

Clearly for Android phones. I don't think iPhone users have to worry

4. blastertoad

Posts: 50; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Not so. With the OMG cable available for purchase most ios devices are susceptible to tampering. Also any Apple devices not updated are still open to the usb keyboard brute force unlock issue. There are lots of iPhone 5's out there.

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