FBI issues public charging notice


Aron Boehle

Student charges their phone. Juice jacking is easily avoidable by using your own outlet charger.

Ecoi Lewis, Staff Writer

As students prepare for their summer travels, the FBI has issued an alert to avoid using free public charging stations that are common at hotels, airports, and shopping malls. Criminals can use USB ports to install malware and monitoring software onto phones when plugged in at public charging stations. With malware, cyber thieves can steal data. They call it “juice jacking,” and the number of people reporting this is on the rise, according to antivirus software company Norton.

The Federal Communications Commission said to avoid becoming a juice jacking victim and use your own charger to charge your phone by plugging it into an electrical outlet, using a power bank, or investing in a charging-only cable.

There are some options to stay safe when traveling that the FCC recommends: keep your devices close to you while charging, turning off phones whilst charging to prevent data from flowing, buying a USB data blocker to prevent devices from getting infected with malware, and installing antivirus software and keeping it up to date.