USB Juice Jacking – A Total Long Shot?
Will “USB juice jacking” trend on Twitter anytime soon? Probably not. Should you be paranoid about USB juice jacking? Probably not.
What is USB juice jacking anyway?
The idea is someone, a hacker, trying to steal your data while you are charging up, or “getting juice” from a public USB port.
Yes, it can technically happen, so don’t be fooled. But could it actually happen? Probably not, so don’t sound like a fool.
Getting down to brass tacks of how this could happen, what would a hacker need to pull it off?
First, they’d need to make a connection, either WiFi or Bluetooth. This connection would transmit your valuable data to the hacker. To do that, the hacker needs some sort of device that holds that communication chip. That chip would need to sit behind the USB port in the string of communication. This “device” would also need power.
Given the above, a quick observation of the USB port you are planning to use, will tell you everything you need to know. So basically if you see a big block with a USB port, don’t plug in your device. If it’s a wall mounted USB port, chances are ultra-slim there is a technology behind the placard stealing your data.
So take airport chairs and charging stations for example; as this is the most comment place a website gives for the “scare.” You are not going to get hacked using those ports. First off, airports are high security areas and those charging stations are monitored. Second, the security cameras will pick up on someone trying to tamper with a charging station or USB port on the chair. Third, the people in the terminal need a boarding pass to get to those spots, so their identity is already known if anything suspicious does turn up.
Now, if we are talking a coffee shop just be sure to investigate the USB socket before you plug in. Or if you want to be totally sure, you can get the USB data blocker we spoke about several months back.