The danger of USB recharge connectors in public spaces

Arrival to the hotel room after a long journey and start locating the plugs to charge the different devices is something already everyday for the vast majority, and in this sense, finding (especially abroad) a USB connector on the wall can be like giving like an oasis in the desert. These types of connectors save the headache of dealing with the different types of plugs that one can find in different countries, but experts have again alerted them to their danger: they can be an access channel for hackers. And the threat is real,

While it is a well-known threat and which experts have alerted in the past, the Los Angeles prosecutor's office in the United States has issued a public alert calling on citizens to avoid using the USB connectors present at hotels and airports at the very serious possibility of being victims of the so-called juice jacking. Using this technique, hackers can directly steal from your mobile phone's private user information or, worse still, install a malware which could even record conversations, and all activity done on your device.

"High impact"

are we facing an excessive alert or is the threat real? Fernando Suárez, President of the General Council of Official Colleges of Engineering in Computer Science of Spain, confirms that "the impact of this risk is very high" and, according to this expert, "the threat and the consequent recommendation is similar to those of using public wits: do not use them, since we do not know what other users and for what purposes they use that shared medium".

Kaspersky Lab confirms the existence of this threat, although it does not consider it to be widespread. Daniel Creus, the company's security analyst, explains that although it is "not widespread generically, it is important to keep this in mind because it can be considered a vector of infection and therefore a threat".

How to protect yourself

The possibility of running out of battery is one of the biggest fears for anyone, but you have to take a very high risk how to avoid it?

Avoid USB ports. It may seem obvious, but it is the first recommendation of all experts: do not use these public USB ports regardless of how convenient they are and how needed a battery can be.

carry the charger on it. Modern chargers barely take up space and should always be worn on top of one to charge your phone and avoid having to resort to these public ports.

Use portable batteries. Known as powerbanks are a lifesaver for many travelers and it will always be more advisable to use them than resorting to a public USB.

Turn off the device while charging. If there is really no choice but to charge your mobile using one of these USB ports, McAfee recommends turning off your device while charging to minimize risk and prevent data traffic in the process.