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Summer travel season is still going strong and East Texans are on the move heading to destinations all across the U.S. to have some fun and take on new experiences. While traveling we'll also be looking for places not only to recharge our own batteries but our phone and other electronics batteries too. Don't become a victim of a rising cyber crime called 'Juice Jacking'.

If your travels take you through the Dallas - Ft. Worth International Airport or any other airport you'll want to avoid using those free public USB charging cables to boost your phone's battery. These free charging cables are found in a variety of other places like shopping malls, train stations, transit hubs, hotel lobbies, and community centers and while using these cables to charge your phone may seem harmless, they could give hackers direct access to everything on your phone.

That dangling cable looks relatively harmless, but there are attackers and hackers that could have tampered with those charging devices and cords and when you plug up to charge up, your phone could be infected with malware and unknowingly give them direct access to sensitive information on your device.

The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has released the following warning when it comes to using public charging stations:

Bad actors can load malware onto public USB charging stations to maliciously access electronic devices while they are being charged. Malware installed through a corrupted USB port can lock a device or export personal data and passwords directly to the perpetrator.

If your phone doesn't have the latest updates installed, you could become a victim. The FCC bulletin says that while "juice jacking" has been demonstrated to be technically possible as a proof of concept, the FCC is not aware of any confirmed instances of it occurring.

Tips to protect yourself from being 'Juice Jacked':

  • Use your own charger with an AC power outlet
  • Use your own USB cables when traveling
  • Carry a portable power bank - an external battery
  • If you plug your device into a USB port and a prompt appears asking you to select "share data" or "trust this computer" or "charge only", always select "charge only"
  • Use USB data blockers
  • Invest in a USB condom cable
  • Keep your device up to date

Hackers are very creative and will try anything to access your important personal data and exploit it in any way possible. Travel safe this summer and keep your phone safely charged so you can grab those videos and pics and post them on social media.

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