So, you are sitting at the airport waiting for an hour because you like to be extra early, and you realize in the heat of packing last night, you didn’t plug your phone in before bed. You see a USB charging station next to your seat and think “perfect!”
Not so fast, there. This charging station could have been compromised by hackers. According to an article written by Suzanne Rowan Kelleher, a Forbes contributor, these charging stations can be easily modified to steal your data.
“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,” says Caleb Barlow, Vice President of X-Force Threat Intelligence at IBM Security. “And remember that that USB port can pass data.”
From hacking USB charging stations to stealing credit card info from a couple feet away with scanners, travelers need to be on the watch for the modern pick-pocket.
“The 2019 IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index reveals that the transportation industry has become a priority target for cybercriminals as the second-most attacked industry — up from tenth in 2017. Since January 2018, 566 million records from the travel and transportation industry have been leaked or compromised in publicly reported breaches,” Kelleher wrote.
In conclusion, our recommendation is to simply charge your phone via the wall outlets that are littered throughout airports like you have been doing for years. It’s not worth the risk to use the more convenient USB charging stations.