Govt Warning: Don’t use public USB ports to charge your smartphones | Tech News

Govt Warning: Don’t use public USB ports to charge your smartphones

Warning! The Centre warns against the USB charger scam in public places. Cybercriminals may steal your data. Follow these tips to stay safe when charging your devices on the go.

| Updated on: Mar 31 2024, 08:42 IST
WWDC 2024 expected announcements: Apple could unveil iOS 18, AI upgrades and more
USB charger scam
1/5 WWDC 2024 location - Continuing the trend of yesteryears, WWDC 2024 will take place at Apple Park in Menlo, Cupertino, California, the home of the company since 2017. (Apple)
USB charger scam
2/5 WWDC 2024 announcements - Apple has already announced that the WWDC 2024 will showcase advancements in iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS, and visionOS. It is also designed to help developers by providing them insight into several frameworks, tools, features and access to Apple experts. (Unsplash)
USB charger scam
3/5 iOS 18 - Despite not being confirmed, iOS 18 is pretty nailed on to be introduced at WWDC 2024, and it is likely to become one of the starring highlights. This is due to several AI upgrades that are in the pipeline. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says it could be one of the “biggest updates in iPhone's history”. Apple could unveil a Siri powered by Large Language Models (LLMs), whereas AI could be incorporated into apps like Music, Keynote, Pages, and even AppleCare. (Unsplash)
USB charger scam
4/5 Other software - In addition to iOS 18, iPadOS 18, macOS 15, watchOS 11, tvOS 18, and HomePod Software 18 are also likely to see the light of day. Moreover, Apple may also unveil visionOS 2, the software powering the Apple Vision Pro headset. (Unsplash)
USB charger scam
5/5 Mac Studio, Mac Pro and other devices - Like last year, Apple may take the wraps off its new generation of Mac devices including Mac Studio, Mac Pro and Mac Mini, all of which could be powered by the new M3 chip. The iPhone maker also unveiled a 15-inch MacBook Air last year but no unveil is likely this time as M3-powered MacBook Air was already launched earlier this month. (Unsplash)
USB charger scam
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Stay alert! Public USB chargers pose risks. Know how to protect yourself from cyber scams. (Pexels)

The government has issued a warning urging citizens to be cautious when using public phone charging stations in places like airports, cafes, hotels, and bus stands. The advisory comes amidst growing concerns over the "USB charger scam," a tactic cybercriminals use to exploit unsuspecting individuals who rely on these stations while on the move.

The USB charger scam poses a significant risk, exploiting the trust of individuals who rely on public charging ports. Cybercriminals utilise a tactic called "juice-jacking" to compromise these ports and launch attacks on connected devices.

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What is ‘Juice-Jacking'

Through juice-jacking, hackers can steal sensitive data or implant malware onto unsuspecting users' devices. When individuals connect their gadgets to compromised ports, they unknowingly expose themselves to potential data theft, malware installation, or device hijacking.

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To safeguard against such threats, here are some proactive measures to consider:

1. Use Electrical Wall Outlets or Carry Personal Cables/Power Banks: Prefer traditional electrical outlets when available, or bring your own charging cables or power banks to avoid using public USB stations.

2. Secure Your Device and Avoid Pairing with Unknown Devices: Implement device security features like PIN or password locks, and avoid connecting to unfamiliar or untrusted devices to prevent unauthorised access or data compromise.

3. Consider Charging Your Device When Turned Off: Charging devices while powered off reduces exposure to external threats, minimising the risk of cyber attacks.

4. Keep Software Updated: Regularly update your smartphone's software to patch security vulnerabilities and stay protected against emerging threats.

5. Install Malware Detection Software: Consider installing malware or virus detection software for added security against malicious attacks.

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What to Do If You're a Victim:

If you've fallen victim to the USB charging scam, report it immediately by calling 1930 or filing a report of cyber fraud at It's crucial to take prompt action to address any potential consequences of the scam.

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First Published Date: 31 Mar, 08:42 IST