The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a new warning against the use of free charging stations in public spaces, like airports or hotels. According to the agency, cyber criminals use a technique known as “juice jacking” to gain users’ personal devices through USB ports and charging cables.

Juice jacking refers to loading malware onto public USB charging stations to maliciously access electronic devices while they are being charged, experts said. Malware installed through a “dirty” USB port can lock a device or export personal data directly to the offender. Hackers can use the information to access online accounts or sell them to bad actors.

The FBI warns that these bad actors have become increasingly adept at disguising their malware and monitoring software to avoid detection.

To protect against juice jacking, the FBI advises travelers to carry their own chargers and USB cords instead of relying on public charging stations. This way, they can ensure that their devices are not at risk of being compromised.

Additionally, travelers should avoid using unsecured public Wi-Fi networks, which can also be a breeding ground for cybercriminal activity.

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