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FBI warns travelers of using public USB chargers

Public chargers can be manipulated to load malware or monitor software on mobile devices.

DENVER — FBI Denver is warning travelers, hotel guest and shoppers against the free USB charging stations.

“Bad actors have figured out ways to use public USB ports to introduce malware and monitoring software onto devices," the FBI Denver office tweeted general information for the public. "Carry your own charger and USB cord and use an electrical outlet instead.”

“We have not received any reports or alerts of any of these “bad actors” as the FBI calls it,” said Ashley Forest, public information officer at Denver International Airport.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says this malware scheme is known as "juice jacking.” Hackers can load malware and monitor software into devices, meaning all your personal information can be at risk.

“We do have a method of determining whether a public charging port has been tampered with and once we are alerted that it has been tampered with, we do have the ability to take that port out of service,” said Forest.

Airport officials at Denver International say the best way to protect yourself is to use:

  • A power outlet
  • Bring your own charger
  • Always carry a portable charger

If you do spot a USB charging station that looks odd, it’s best to report it right away.

“The best defense is being vigilant, look at the port before you charge up your phone. If you notice that it looks a little loose, or if something is sticking out of it, call authorities,” said Forest.




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