During my holiday weekend travels, I learned something about airports that I think is really important to consider. Something as simple as charging your phone can actually put you at risk.

The FBI is warning the public against using public charging stations, specifically USB ports. While this applies to any public space, including malls, community centers, and train stations, it is especially true for airports.

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The warning is in regard to compromised charging stations that can introduce malware and monitoring software onto your devices. This is known as ‘Juice Jacking’.

The malware or software installed onto your device through these compromised USB ports can completely lock down your device and export personal data including passwords. In even scarier situations, your device could be monitored completely undetected as you continue to use your device as usual.

Although Juice Jacking is still considered a relatively rare occurrence, it is still something to be wary of. In order to avoid it, always use your own charger, plugged directly into an outlet, not a USB port. Also never use someone else’s charger, unless it is someone you know and trust.

Another common scam is the use of card skimmers, so be sure to protect your information with RFID-blocking wallets and check gas station card readers for fraudulent covers. These things can help protect your banking info, saving you a lot of money, time, and annoyance.

For other travel safety tips, check out this article.

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