FBI warned people not to connect to the free power but instead carry their own chargers and USB cord that plug into an outlet.
No one likes it when their phone runs out of power when they're far from home. In that moment of crisis, public charging stations available at airports, cafes, and hotels may seem like a lifesaver but charging phones at such places could have unfortunate consequences.
Recently, The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warned people not to connect to the free power but instead carry their own chargers and USB cord that plug into an outlet.
On April 6, the FBI's Denver office tweeted a serious warning to smartphone owners to avoid using free public charging stations. ''Avoid using free charging stations in airports, hotels, or shopping centers. Bad actors have figured out ways to use public USB ports to introduce malware and monitoring software onto devices. Carry your own charger and USB cord and use an electrical outlet instead,'' the tweet reads.
See the tweet here:
In its tweet, the FBI said that crooks have been known to use the USB ports to infect phones with dangerous malware and software that can give hackers access to your phone, tablet, or computer.
On its website, the FBI also warned people saying, ''Be careful when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network and do not conduct any sensitive transactions, including purchases, when on a public network.
Those who are handing over money online are urged to ''examine the email address in all correspondence and scrutinize website URLs as well as thoroughly check all payment requests, and to never click links in an unsolicited email.''
Previously, the FBI warned about the dangers of plugging into public USB ports, known as ''juice jacking.'' It noted that criminals have been known to install infected USB ports that can export personal data and passwords directly to them from the phone.
It explained, ''Cybersecurity experts have warned that criminals can load malware onto public USB charging stations to maliciously access electronic devices while they are being charged. Malware installed through a dirty USB port can lock a device or export personal data and passwords directly to the perpetrator. Criminals can use that information to access online accounts or sell it to other bad actors.''
The FBI recommends creating a strong and unique password for every online account and changing them regularly. It also aksed people to regularly update phones, set up multi-factor authentication, and keep an eye out for sophisticated phishing scams.
According to recent data from the FBI, Americans lost a staggering $10.3 billion to internet scams in 2022.