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FBI warns consumers against using public phone charging stations

Posted at 6:21 PM, Apr 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-12 19:21:57-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Finding free public charging stations might be the quickest solution when your electronic devices are running low on power.

Well, a few Islander university students tells us some places are more trusted than others.

“I think I’ve seen some at the mall, but I don’t really charge my phone there,” Amber Trigo said.

“I’ve seen it at the airport as well, but I don’t trust those either because there’s always so many people coming in and out,” Miranda Cortez said.

As seniors, Trigo and Cortez say they’ve learned to be careful with their personal information.

They don’t want their hard work to disappear.

 “I make sure that I trust it and if I don’t, I’ll just let it die,” Cortez said.

Using public charging stations can be helpful but now the FBI has noticed hackers have found a way to hijack public USB ports.

Certified information system security professional, David Abarca tells us these crooks will have access to your device.

"They can get passed your security because you’re usually using it while you’re charging it. Once it’s unlocked everything is vulnerable,” Abarca said.

That includes your photos, apps, passwords, and banking information.

Abarca said anybody connected to the public charging station is at risk.

"They can identify this new device that’s connected, and they can begin a malicious attack while you think you’re just charging your phone,” Abarca said.

Abarca suggest using a portable charger instead and a strong password, preferably 14 characters long to protect yourself from hackers outside your home.