Mumbai: There are those who like to be in charge 24/7 and the mobile phone is their most important tool, so they must ensure it never loses charge. For this reason, they carry power banks. But like all electrical devices, even these powering tools are apt to run out of 'juice' at one point or the other.
So when one is on the move and their mobile battery blinks 'low power', they turn to their power bank. But what if their power bank is drained as well? Using a public charging station is the most obvious solution. But is it safe to do so? The answer is 'No,' -- such an action entails the risk of 'juice jacking', experts warn. What is 'juice jacking? A cyber 'hijack' of your smartphone. It is likely that a public charging port will either instal malware or surreptitiously copy sensitive data from a phone, computer or tablet and connected devices and the data will be relayed to 'hijackers' or intruders.
Charging points are commonly available at terminals, buses, on long-distance trains. Most of these have USB ports or USB cables, not adapters attached to wall sockets. This hides the potential presence of malicious devices through which malware could invade your phone, hack it and extract sensitive data. Recently, Mumbai Police tweeted a warning to citizens about 'juice-jacking'. Police commissioner Sanjay Barve said: 'Home is where you charge your phones'. Though their is no case is reported of juice jacking the tweet was a pre-emptive measure.
Charging a phone at a public charging station is always a matter of concern, as the threat of juice-jacking always looms. How can one be safe if faced with such a situation? Cyber-expert Sanyog Shelar recommends, "Switch off your phone before plugging it into a public port.. Carry your own USB cable which will only conduct electricity, not data. This will keep your device safe, and as a precautionary measure, look for an electrical socket behind the charging station." Of course, the best option is to always be prepared -- keep your phone charged, carry your own personal charger and a power backup, the safest of options at all times.