Public Charging Station: Is It Really Safe for Your Smartphone?

January 2, 2014 Tech

111What happens when you are on low battery?

If you are at an airport or a shopping mall, it is not that big a problem because these places often have charging stations installed that you can use it to make the urgent call. That’s really convenient and helps you a lot. So you’ll find more and more phone chargers pop up along street and in restaurants, bars and other public places. However, there’s a level of security risk associate with them.

Billy Lau, a Georgia Tech research scientist, just released his new research demonstrating a way in which how easy it is to introduce a malicious app to a charging device, through the USB cable (which, at a public location, might be secretly hooked up to a hidden computer). Their fake app looked like Facebook, but was really a virus, allowing the hackers complete access to the phone, and the ability to see everything the cell owners could see, including banking information, email passwords and text messages. They could eavesdrop on calls—and even place them.

What the hack!

Attacks against smartphones increased sixfold from 2011 to 2012infinite one portable charger

“You don’t know whether you are just charging your phone or if something else is going on”, says Bill Lau. Of course, don’t unlock your phone while charging at a public charging station is an easy fix to cope with the risk. Password protection, however, makes hacking harder, but not impossible.

The best solution – never plug your phone into a public charger. Instead, you can take along a portable charger for iPhone 5s or Samsung Galaxy 4, which has massive capacity but is handy and slim enough, such as Kinkoo Infinite One. It recharges your smartphone 4-6 times but is so small to fit in your pocket, handbag, and even hand. Most of all, it’s only for you, not for everyone.

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