Have you heard of Juice Jacking? The term is the name of a strategy used by hackers to load public USB charging stations with malware that can attack the devices of users trying to charge them.
Allowing your electronic devices to be compromised by malware can be one of the most stressful and violating modern experiences. With more of your life than ever before attached to your phone, tablet or laptop, giving a criminal the ability to sift through your data and learn your most intimate details can be a nightmare.
So how do you protect yourself? First, as Doreen Christensen reports in the Sun Sentinel, avoid the possibility of “juice jacking” by bringing your own charging plug and cable with you as you travel to plug directly into an electrical outlet, not a public USB port. She writes:
Here’s how the scam works: A computer is concealed within the charging kiosk or on cables left plugged in that are programmed to automatically pair with smartphones when they are plugged in. The rogue computer can then freely access all the information stored on electronic devices, from passwords to emails, to address books to photos to text messages. It can even do a full backup of your phone, all of which can be accessed wirelessly by the crooks.
“A free charge could end up draining your bank account,” said Deputy District Attorney Luke Sisak in a video posted to the Los Angeles County’s website.
Sisak suggests playing it safe by plugging into an AC power outlet with your own charging cord or using a portable charger. Also, adding a passcode or enabling the fingerprint scanner or face ID will help foil an attack.
If you think you may have already had your device compromised, you may want to signup for an identity theft monitoring service like LifeLock. I use LifeLock and find it helpful in securing my identity in cyberspace. (Quick note: I am not paid to recommend LifeLock, I just use it, find value in it, and want to pass that value on to you).
The losses you face from losing control of your cell phone may be larger than you think. One man in San Francisco had $1 million stolen from him after a criminal accessed his phone. CNBC’s Kate Rooney reports:
San Francisco resident Robert Ross, a father of two, noticed his phone suddenly lose its signal on Oct. 26. Confused, he went to a nearby Apple store and later contacted his service provider, AT&T. But he wasn’t quick enough to stop a hacker from draining $500,000 from two separate accounts he had at Coinbase and Gemini, according to Santa Clara officials.
Nicholas Truglia, 21, lifted the $1 million from Ross’ two cryptocurrency accounts, according to a felony complaint filed this month in California state court. Prosecutors say Truglia also hacked the phones of multiple Silicon Valley executives but was not able to rob their accounts.
“It’s a whole new wave of crime,” said Erin West, the deputy district attorney of Santa Clara County. “It’s a new way of stealing of money: They target people that they believe to have cryptocurrency,” she told CNBC.
In the age of the internet, when you connect yourself to everyone in the world, both the good and the criminal, you must maintain constant vigilance.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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