USB Charger Scam: Government Has A Warning For Users Charging Phones In Public Places

Public facilities like airports, hotels, and cafes often offer charging stations for smartphones and other devices, providing a convenient solution during emergencies. However, the government has issued a warning regarding the prevalent ‘USB Charger Scam’ associated with these public charging ports.

The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), operating under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, has cautioned that cybercriminals may exploit charging ports in public places, including cafes, hotels, and airports, for malicious purposes.

These compromised ports can potentially expose users to ‘juice-jacking attacks’ when utilized for device charging. In such attacks, hackers utilize infected USB ports to install malware apps on victims’ devices, compromising their security.

To safeguard against these threats, CERT-In has shared safety guidelines to help users avoid falling prey to such scams. These include:

  • Thoroughly inspecting USB charging points before using them, especially during emergencies.
  • Preferably using electrical wall charging sockets or personal cable and adapter setups.
  • Disabling USB debugging and pairing options on smartphones before connecting to public USB cables.
  • Ensuring smartphones are locked and powered off if feasible before charging.
  • Utilizing personal power banks for device charging in public spaces.

By following these best practices, users can mitigate the risks associated with using public charging ports and safeguard their devices and data from potential cyber threats.

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