FBI warns of public charger hacking at airports and hotels — tips to protect yourself when you travel


The FBI is again warning people against using free public charging stations, including at airports and hotels, for fear of hacking.

In 2021, the FBI first declared similar concerns about hackers infecting devices with software to gain access to phones. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office first gave a warning in 2019.

Experts and the FBI urge travelers to avoid relying on public USB ports. Here are a few practical ways to keep your phone charged while traveling without the risk of getting hacked.

Carry a portable charger

A portable charger is one thing I always make sure I pack when I travel.

This Belkin portable power bank can charge multiple devices simultaneously, and it provides 36 hours of additional battery life for your phone via a USB-C port and two USB-A ports.

Or, try this pair of FuelRods charging banks, which you can exchange in places like Disney World for free.

Bring your own AC adapter

In addition to a charger, you could bring your own AC adapter (that tiny brick that comes with your cellphone and plugs into a standard outlet). Just make sure it’s compatible with your type of phone, such as this one for the iPhone 14 or these for older models. You could also consider buying a heavy-duty one for powering multiple cables at once.

Charge your phone from your laptop

If you can’t find your AC adapter and don’t have a portable battery, plug your USB cable into your own laptop. This isn’t the best solution, but it will give your phone enough charge to hail an Uber, pull up your digital boarding pass or satisfy your other timely travel needs.

Use a data blocker

This simple USB device does exactly what its name suggests: It sits between the charging outlet and your cellphone to prevent malware from sneaking through.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Don’t grant access to your cellphone


This may seem like a no-brainer, but never allow anyone or anything you don’t trust to access your phone. Sometimes when you plug your phone into a public charging station, you’ll see a pop-up asking if you’d like to trust the computer it’s connected to. Always say no.

Bottom line

Public chargers are convenient. However, potentially opening up your devices to hackers will create a larger inconvenience than bringing the suggested items with you while traveling.

Related reading:

Katherine Fan previously contributed to this report.


Source link

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Compare items
  • Total (0)