Hackers today are trying every approach possible to steal your device’s data, including the hijacking of public USB ports. This technique is known as “juice jacking,” and with this new threat, you should think twice about charging your device using a public USB charging kiosk, or even the USB port on a friend’s computer.
There’s a very real risk that a strange USB port will be riddled with data-stealing malware designed to spread via charging. When it comes to something as precious as your data, you want to be safe and use protection.
According to Brian Markus, president of Aires Security, “Anyone who had an inclination to, could put a system inside of one of these kiosks that, when someone connects their phone, can suck down all of the photos and data, or write malware to the device.” Making matters worse is the fact that, by default, many mobile devices like smartphones are configured to automatically sync or dump off data as soon as a connection is made. This setting plays right into the hackers’ hands.
You’ve got a few options you can take to safely use a public USB port.
The USB Condom
Yes, you read that right. The USB Condom is a real thing. When a device loves a USB port, a magical process known as charging takes place. Sometimes, the device finds itself on the road and a sketchy USB port is its only charging option. When using strange ports to charge your personal device, be sure to stay safe and wrap your device with a USB Condom.
The USB Condom is a real product made by int3.cc. Essentially, the USB Condom is a circuit board that’s only a few inches in length. A user will plug their device into one end of the board, and then plug the other end of the USB Condom into the strange USB port. The USB Condom blocks the device’s data pins while leaving exposed the power pins for the purpose of charging.
The USB Condom is available from int3.cc for only $9.99. That’s a small price to protect your device from a nasty virus. Before purchasing a USB Condom for your device, be sure to first check with online reviews because it has been known to not be compatible with every device.
An inexpensive solution is to simply put tape over the USB’s data pins before charging it. This tape solution may work if you’re in a pinch, but it’s not recommended. The tape can fall off and get stuck in the port and leave glue behind. Plus, if the pin isn’t 100% covered, then your device will still be vulnerable.
Implement a Mobile Security Software Solution
There are software security solutions available that can proactively protect your device from juice jacking. Inside Counsel explains:
Consider software packages that can be implemented on company devices to build security protocols to shield against external attacks and block unauthorized access. This type of device management provides assurance that no holes are open for someone to come in and steal corporate information, while still allowing corporate IT to have access into the device.
These are three good solutions, but the best action you can take to protect your company’s data from scams like juice jacking is to develop awareness with team members that have company data stored on their mobile devices. Be sure to educate every employee on this issue so they won’t willy-nilly plug into every USB port they come across.
Are you concerned about the security of your company’s data? SemTech IT Solutions offers your business additional data security solutions that will protect your sensitive information from hackers, including tools that keep your mobile device safe when connecting to strange WiFi networks. To learn more about how to best protect your company’s data, give us a call at 407-830-1434.
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