Avoid charging your mobile at airports warns security expert - or it could cost you

By Mirror | Thursday, May 23rd 2019 at 15:38
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We're all familiar with the sense of panic that comes when you realise your phone is about to die - and your charger is nowhere to hand.

That tiny little red sliver of battery isn't going to hang on in there forever.

Fortunately, should this happen to you at an airport, there are those nifty charging stations. Phew, crisis averted, right?

Wrong!

Next time you find yourself short of juice at the airport, you may want to think twice before using a charging station, as it could end up costing you more.

The reason being, according to Forbes, cybercriminals can modify those USB connections, download data on your phone or install malware - all without your knowledge.

"Plugging into a public USB port is kind of like finding a toothbrush on the side of the road and deciding to stick it in your mouth.

"You have no idea where that thing has been," says Caleb Barlow, Vice President of X-Force Threat Intelligence at IBM Security. 

"And remember that that USB port can pass data."

Instead, Caleb recommends travelling with your own charger on you or investing in a portable power bank.

Just try to avoid using a charging station - even if it has the exact type of cord you need.

Caleb continues: "Let's say I'm a bad guy … I go into an airport … I'm not going to easily take apart the charging station, but it's easy just to leave my cord behind."

"Now, if you see an Apple charging cord, you're likely to grab it or just plug into it.

"But inside this cord is an extra chip that deploys the malware, so it charges your phone, but now I own your computer."

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