What is juice jacking, and why is it dangerous?

Smartphones help us complete various work and personal tasks, and, depending on our usage, we may need to recharge them several times a day. But when your charger is unavailable and you need power for your phone, charging at public kiosks can seem like a good substitute. Here’s one good reason why you shouldn’t plug a public USB charger into your phone: doing so can make you a victim of a cyberattack called juice jacking.

What is juice jacking?

While newer phones can be charged wirelessly, older models still need power cords to power up their batteries. This charging method has one dangerous flaw: the cable used for charging can also be used for transferring data. Cybercriminals can exploit this flaw to commit juice jacking, or the act of using the USB data/power cable to illegitimately access phone data and/or inject malicious code into a device.

Juice jacking often happens at public charging kiosks. When you charge your phone, it is paired with a computer concealed within the charging stand. The computer can then access all of the information on your device, including personal data such as your address book, notes, photos, music, SMS database, and keyboard cache. It can even initiate a full backup of your phone, which can be accessed by the hacker wirelessly anytime.

Apart from stealing your data, cybercriminals can also inject malware into your phone through a public USB hub. All it takes is a minute of being plugged into a public charger for your phone to be infected by malware. Once infected, your phone can be prompted to display ads, download apps, or view web pages without your authorization.

How to avoid juice jacking

The most effective precaution against juice jacking is simply not charging your phone using a third-party system. Here are some tips to help you avoid using a public kiosk charger:

  • Keep your battery full. Make it a habit to charge your phone at home or at the office when you are not actively using it. When unexpected circumstances happen and you get stuck outside, your phone will have enough juice and you won’t need to charge it.
  • Carry a personal charger. External batteries like power banks have become very small and portable in recent years. Always have one in your bag so you can charge your phone securely on the go.
  • If your device has a removable battery, carry a backup battery with you anywhere. If the idea of carrying a spare battery doesn’t appeal to you, you can opt to carry a battery case instead: it’s a phone case that doubles as a battery.
  • Lock your phone. Without the proper PIN code or fingerprint and face ID scan, your phone cannot be paired with the hidden computer in the kiosk charger.
  • If you must use a third-party power source, use power-only USB cables. These cables are missing the two wires necessary for data transmission, ensuring that they can only be used for charging.

Technology threats are all around us. Even something as trivial as powering your phone in a public kiosk station can compromise your device’s security. If you want to learn more about how to protect your gadgets from today’s security threats, don’t hesitate to call us. Our technology experts are happy to help.

This post was originally published on this site

What is juice jacking, and why is it dangerous?

Smartphones help us complete various work and personal tasks, and, depending on our usage, we may need to recharge them several times a day. But when your charger is unavailable and you need power for your phone, charging at public kiosks can seem like a good substitute. Here’s one good reason why you shouldn’t plug a public USB charger into your phone: doing so can make you a victim of a cyberattack called juice jacking.

What is juice jacking?

While newer phones can be charged wirelessly, older models still need power cords to power up their batteries. This charging method has one dangerous flaw: the cable used for charging can also be used for transferring data. Cybercriminals can exploit this flaw to commit juice jacking, or the act of using the USB data/power cable to illegitimately access phone data and/or inject malicious code into a device.

Juice jacking often happens at public charging kiosks. When you charge your phone, it is paired with a computer concealed within the charging stand. The computer can then access all of the information on your device, including personal data such as your address book, notes, photos, music, SMS database, and keyboard cache. It can even initiate a full backup of your phone, which can be accessed by the hacker wirelessly anytime.

Apart from stealing your data, cybercriminals can also inject malware into your phone through a public USB hub. All it takes is a minute of being plugged into a public charger for your phone to be infected by malware. Once infected, your phone can be prompted to display ads, download apps, or view web pages without your authorization.

How to avoid juice jacking

The most effective precaution against juice jacking is simply not charging your phone using a third-party system. Here are some tips to help you avoid using a public kiosk charger:

  • Keep your battery full. Make it a habit to charge your phone at home or at the office when you are not actively using it. When unexpected circumstances happen and you get stuck outside, your phone will have enough juice and you won’t need to charge it.
  • Carry a personal charger. External batteries like power banks have become very small and portable in recent years. Always have one in your bag so you can charge your phone securely on the go.
  • If your device has a removable battery, carry a backup battery with you anywhere. If the idea of carrying a spare battery doesn’t appeal to you, you can opt to carry a battery case instead: it’s a phone case that doubles as a battery.
  • Lock your phone. Without the proper PIN code or fingerprint and face ID scan, your phone cannot be paired with the hidden computer in the kiosk charger.
  • If you must use a third-party power source, use power-only USB cables. These cables are missing the two wires necessary for data transmission, ensuring that they can only be used for charging.

Technology threats are all around us. Even something as trivial as powering your phone in a public kiosk station can compromise your device’s security. If you want to learn more about how to protect your gadgets from today’s security threats, don’t hesitate to call us. Our technology experts are happy to help.

This post was originally published on this site

Changing your Android smartphone’s location settings

Location services or location tracking is a handy feature in your Android smartphone. Enabling it has some benefits; for instance, it makes it convenient for you to find the nearest gas station using Google Maps or check in at places on Facebook. While convenient, there are some risks in allowing the apps on your phone to track your every move. Here’s how you can change the location settings on your Android phone.

Photos and GPS tagging

Your Android smartphone’s geolocating or GPS tagging function lets you attach GPS coordinates to the pictures you take. This allows you to arrange pictures in albums by location. Geolocating images in itself isn’t a bad thing, but you can get into trouble when you broadcast sensitive locations to the world. For instance, a picture of your expensive watch with a GPS tag of your house could attract wrongdoers.

Here are four ways to control geotagging photos:

  1. Go to your camera settings and you’ll find an on/off toggle.
  2. Go to Settings > Location and from there, you can decide if you want the location saved along with your images.
  3. Download an EXIF editor and manually remove the location information from specific images.
  4. You can also turn off location services altogether by going to Settings > Location.

Discrete location settings

Apart from location settings in photos and GPS tagging, Android has three discrete location settings that allow you to set the level of accuracy of your location reporting. You can find these in Settings > Location. Note that this affects your smartphone’s battery life immensely.

  • High accuracy – This uses the GPS radio in your phone to pinpoint its exact location using data from satellites while making use of nearby Wi-Fi and cellular networks too.
  • Battery saving – This mode only uses Wi-Fi networks and mobile networks to identify locations, and while it might not be as accurate as the high accuracy setting, it will help your battery last longer.
  • Device sensors only – This only uses the GPS radio to find you. It may take a little more time to find your location since it doesn’t use nearby Wi-Fi and mobile networks to get your general location first. This also uses more battery.

Turning off your location settings will not only help keep your smartphone’s security intact, but it will also help preserve your battery life.

Interested in learning more about Android phones and their functions? We have solutions for you and your business. Call our experts today.

This post was originally published on this site