Information and security risk of Juice Jacking

    Juice Jacking

    airport charging station

    It's another travel day for work. You're never late, so you get to the airport 2 hours before your flight. You're on time.

    Life is good your Austin Powers and about to become Nurse Jackie walking through the airport.

    You finally get through security, and you see that your phone battery is on its last legs — time to start searching for your cell phone lifeline, an airport charging station. You hustle past gate after the gate, and with each full charging station you pass, you soon raise the charge cell phone mission to Threat Level Midnight.

    You look at your watch for only one hour until you board. You know that the flight your on has free TV and movies, but you need your phone to watch them. The thought of sitting on a five-hour flight with no ability to watch three great Silicon Valley episodes terrifies you. You know you can't sleep on any plane, the book you brought sucks, and if you have to listen to another person yap about their family tree while feigning interest, one thing has become importantly evident to you, you need Juice!

    Just before you hit the panic button, you see something that brings a smile to your face.

    airport charging station

    Victory! Or is it?

    I know you're excited and feel a great sense of accomplishment, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that paradise you see before you might not be the cell phone Shangri-la you imagined but instead may be a dangerous Pandora's box.

    The city Los Angeles issued an alert on Juice Jacking on November 9th, 2019.

    How does Juice Jacking work? What the heck is Juice Jacking?

    What if I told you that USB charging station to charge your cell phone, laptop or iPad, might give bad people with bad intentions all of the funds from your bank account. Is this possible? Am I serious? Yes. I am deadly serious.

    do I have your attention now

    Do I have your attention now?

    If the malware infects your devices, hackers can gain access to your passwords, and they can also lock up your devices and make them unusable. Similar to how Visa warned of POS malware incidents at gas pumps in North America, where bad people could hijack your credit card and send private info and share with bad person through a remote server, airport USB stations can be hijacked in a similar way.

    Recently Today did a video on juice jacking where a security expert showed how easy it was to capture information from the news reporter charging her phone. He saw everything she was doing from a remote location. He saw her husband's phone number when she called to check on her kids. When she checked her hotel reservations, the hacker saw where she was staying, the name and address of that hotel. And when she went into the Home Depot web site on her phone to buy a toaster, he saw the screen where she was entering her credit card number. She gives her security code for the card, and at that point, the hacker could use her credit card to buy anything. They also show in the video how easily people would voluntarily charge into any randomly placed charging stand.

    OK, so this is a severe security issue. Can we prevent bad people from stealing our private data? Good news. Yes, we can.

    Tips to prevent juice jacking

    • Charge directly into a plug outlet
    • Use a portable battery that you bought from a reliable vendor
    • If your device has a window that pops up with "allow device to access data", choose "no."
    • Don't use USB cables already plugged into charging stations

    We don't want to make you paranoid, but we here at Iron Cove Solutions take security very seriously. If security is a concern for your company, contact us at Iron Cove Solutions, and we can show you how using Okta can significantly improve the safety and security in your office with every application you and your fellow employees use.

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