Protecting Your Device: The Risks of Using Free Public Charging Stations

The FBI and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have issued warnings to the public about the risks of using free public charging stations in places such as airports, hotels, and shopping centers, due to the risk of “juice jacking.”[0] Hackers can insert malware or monitoring software into phones through charging ports, allowing them to access sensitive information on devices that are plugged in, such as usernames and passwords, email accounts, and banking information.[1] The FCC advises people to use an AC power outlet, bring their own USB cable when travelling, and carry a portable charger or external battery.[2] They also suggest carrying a charging-only cable, which prevents data from sending or receiving while charging from a trusted supplier.[3] The FBI recommends that users plug their devices directly into electrical outlets using their own chargers and cables and suggests that travelers use their own car chargers or portable batteries if an outlet is not available.[4] Using a public USB port to transfer malware to a computer, tablet, or smartphone can provide hackers with access to sensitive data, including usernames and passwords, email hijacking, online account theft, and other malicious activities.[5] The risks have increased as the number of free public charging stations has multiplied in recent years, with operators of airports, hotels, and shopping centers installing them to accommodate growing numbers of people in transit.[6]

0. “The FBI warns the public not to charge their phones at these high risk locations” PhoneArena, 11 Apr. 2023,

1. “FBI says think again before using a free phone-charging station” Business Insider, 10 Apr. 2023,

2. “FBI warns public against using free charging station, says ‘bad actors’ can introduce malware” Fox News, 10 Apr. 2023,

3. “Juice jacking | FBI warns against using free charging stations at airports, hotels and shopping centers” WTVD-TV, 10 Apr. 2023,

4. “Don’t use public phone charging stations, FBI says. ‘Bad actors’ have compromised them” AOL, 10 Apr. 2023,

5. “FBI: Don't use public phone charging stations” TrustedReviews, 10 Apr. 2023,

6. “Avoid using free public phone charging stations, FBI Denver warns” Tech Xplore, 7 Apr. 2023,

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