Don’t Trust Airport USB Charging Stations! Here’s Why.
About 600+ million people fly within the United States every year. With that number, you can’t even imagine the amount of times people plug into Airport USB charging stations. That being said, the transportation sector as a whole is one of the most targeted industries by cyber criminals. According to the IBM X Force Report, “The transportation industry became the second-most attacked sector in 2018 – moving up the ranks from 10th in 2017.”
Based on this report, and other expert opinions, flight passengers are being avoid using Airport USB charging stations. It’s become a common occurrence for cyber criminals to adjust these charging stations so malware and other data are uploaded to connected cell phones, tablets, and computers.
In a recent Forbes article, Caleb Barlow, V.P. of X-Force Threat Intelligence at IBM Security summed up this threat perfectly:
“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, and remember, that the USB port can pass data.”
This same analogy applies to connecting to Airport public Wi-Fi. You have no idea if the wi-fi network is secure and who has been on it. Once malicious data is installed on your device, it could be used to steal your personal information and wipe your phone clean.
Now that you know the risks involved with using an Airport charging station, what can you do about it?
What You Can Do To Protect Yourself:
Bring Your Own Portable Charger
To avoid plugging into any Airport outlet, you can bring your own portable tech device charger. Charge it to full capacity before leaving your home or hotel. If you don’t think that will be enough charge for you, get multiple portable chargers.
Plug Your Device Into A Wall Outlet
Even though available wall outlets can be hard to come by at an Airport, try to find one to plug into instead of using a USB charging station. It may take a little while to wait for an available one or find one, but doing so to keep your device secure is worth it.
Avoid Plugging Your Device In
You can also just avoid plugging in your device all together. Whether you’re leaving home or you hotel, make sure to charge all of your devices fully before doing so. Then, you won’t have to worry about finding a charging station all together!
So, next time you are traveling via plane, take these Airport precautions to avoid your cell phone, computer, or tablet from getting infected.
Related Article: How To Prevent Yourself From Becoming A Cyber Victim