Charging in public ports may expose your phone to hackers

Photo: Berita Harian

While public phone-charging stations at airports and recreational spots may be a real blessing, word is spreading that crafty hackers can use them to steal your personal information.

As Drew Paik from security firm Authentic8 told CNN, "Just by plugging your phone into a [compromised] power strip or charger, your device is now infected, and that compromises all your data."

Spotting a public charging spot may lift your spirits when you're faced with an energy crisis on the go-but plugging your device into such stations has its dangers. Not only can your emails, text messages, photos or contacts be spied on, but such places can also "video jack" your phone. This means that compromised ports can document the actions you perform on your phone at the time of charging.

Read also: Keep fit and charge your phone at the same time

Despite these noted risks, people still make use of public charging hubs. As a case in point in San Francisco, Authentic8 ran a social experiment and found that "about 80 per cent connected their phones without asking about security".

Paik emphasised the importance of using your own charger and said that, "if [you] are concerned about security, don't use public ports. If [you] are desperate and need to upload your selfie, take your chances."

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