Stop Using Public USB Ports to Charge Your Phone

Battery capacity is one of those things that always comes in price, especially when you are traveling and you need to use one of the few precious outlets at the airport to keep your device charged.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office issued a warning this week to remind everyone of one way you shouldn’t keep this device charged: via a public USB port.

We warned people about using public USB ports back in May .

The problem is that public USB ports can potentially be hacked to install data-theft malware on your phone while charging. Called “hiding,” this hack can lead to fraudsters gaining access to your passwords, personal information, and more. Not worth a few more minutes of Candy Crush, right?

If you do use one of the ports (do not use it!), Make sure you do not agree to grant this port access to data on your device. Depending on your device, when connected, you may see a pop-up asking if you trust the device. You do not.

It’s best to always just plug your phone or tablet into an AC outlet. I highly recommend bringing a small surge protector with you before going on vacation. The protector takes up a minimum of bag space and can be a powerful tool when it comes to negotiating with someone to allow you to use an outlet. As some commenters on this post have pointed out, a USB condom or non-data cable can also be a great idea, although you need to be mindful of using them.

Things like portable batteries can also be your friend and can help provide some power even when you’re away from retail outlets in general. I’m a big fan of this Mophie battery, which can even charge your laptop if you need to, but if your phone is your only concern, you can get some much smaller and cheaper batteries that can do the job as well.


Leave a Reply