'Juice jacking': What is it?
Contrary to the title (and header image), it has nothing to do with fruit juice.
Alexander Pan avatar
Written by Alexander Pan
Updated over a week ago

Juice jacking - despite what the title may have you believe - has got nothing to do with fruit, juice, or the jacking of any fruit juice. Nope, juice jacking actually refers to a way of stealing people's personal information by cybercriminals via public USB charging ports at airports, shopping centres, and hotels.

As this is a major safety issue, we're going to take a look at why juice jacking is dangerous and how to stay safe from cybercriminals who are trying this type of fraud on unsuspecting people who just want to charge their phone.

If you need support or just someone to talk to, our Sonder support team is available 24/7 to chat whenever you need it.

Why is juice jacking a safety issue?

The 'juice jacking' process begins when cybercriminals hijack public USB charging ports and infect them with malware or other monitoring and remote access software. When unsuspecting people who need to recharge their device/s use these infected public USB charging ports, the malware will be installed onto their device/s and grant unauthorised access to cybercriminals, who can then steal personal information.

There are two main safety risks involved with juice jacking:

  • Data Theft - Cybercriminals can steal personal information, account credentials and financial information on your mobile device once they've gained access to it via juice jacking.

  • Malware Installation - Cybercriminals may use malware to clone your phone data and transfer it back to their own device. Other things cybercriminals can do using malware include getting your GPS location, purchases, social media interactions, photos and call logs. There are a number of malware types out there, including:

    • Adware - Advertising-supported software that displays unwanted advertisements on your device.

    • Cryptominers - A malware attack that co-opts the target's computing resources in order to mine cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

    • Spyware - Malicious software designed to enter your device, gather data about you, and forward it to a third party without your consent.

    • Trojans - Malware that downloads onto a device and hides malicious code to try and gain users' system access.

    • Ransomware - Malware that gains access to your computer or device and then locks it. Cybercriminals will then demand a ransom from the device's owner in order to 'unlock' it.

So it's got nothing to do with fruit and juice?


Okay, so what can I do to stay safe?

The safest thing you can do is to plan ahead so you can avoid using public charging stations and kiosks altogether. Stick to using a standard wall outlet to charge your devices (data can't transfer between devices and a regular AC outlet) or use an alternative charging method that doesn't involve plugging into a public USB port (such as power banks or wireless charging stations).

If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app to connect to our team of qualified, caring health professionals.

Image credit: Juno

All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.

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