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Cyber Expert Explains Why You Shouldn't Use Airport Phone Charging Points

Tom Wood

| Last updated 

Cyber Expert Explains Why You Shouldn't Use Airport Phone Charging Points

Featured Image Credit: PA

Experts believe that cyber-criminals are capable of modifying airport phone charging machines to download information and upload malware to devices.

Seriously, is nothing safe anymore?

We've all been there. You're about to board a flight, everything is tightly packed into your luggage, then your phone vibrates to tell you that the battery is running dangerously low.


That's cool though, because instead of having to dig your charger out of your bag or get fleeced for a brand new cable you can use one of the handy machines for a small fee and everything will be OK.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

But will it?

Caleb Barlow, who is the vice president of X-Force Threat Intelligence at IBM Security, reckons that you might be taking a bigger risk that you'd think.

Obviously, when you plug your phone into something it can act as more than just a charge point. That's why you can plug it into your laptop.

However, do you really want a passageway open between your phone - holder of all your personal details - and a random portal in an airport.

He told Forbes: "Plugging into a public USB port is kind of like finding a toothbrush on the side of the road and deciding to stick it in your mouth,

"You have no idea where that thing has been."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

According to new data from an X-Force survey, cyber-criminals are targeting the transportation industry. It's now the second most attacked sector as of 2018.

The report said: "The financial services industry remained the most attacked sector of 2018, accounting for 19 percent of all attacks observed,

"However, the transportation industry - which did not even make the top five list last year - moved to the second most attacked sector in 2018, with attempted attacks increasing threefold since the year prior."

Barlow reckons that instead of using an airport charging port, get yourself a portable power pack or carry a plug in your pocket that you can just plug into the wall.

He continued: "Let's say I'm a bad guy ... I go into an airport ... I'm not going to easily take apart the charging station, but it's easy just to leave my cord behind," he explained.

"Now, if you see an Apple charging cord, you're likely to grab it or just plug into it. But inside this cord is an extra chip that deploys the malware, so it charges your phone, but now I own your computer."

Oh, great. That's nice.

Topics: World News, News, Technology, Weird

Tom Wood
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