FBI: Don’t use public charging stations to charge your phone

The FBI is warning people to not use public phone charging stations because hackers have found a way to introduce malware through the stations.

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“Avoid using free charging stations in airports, hotels or shopping centers,” the FBI’s Denver Twitter account said. “Bad actors have figured out ways to use public USB ports to introduce malware and monitoring software onto devices. Carry your own charger and USB cord and use an electrical outlet instead.”

The common charging stations are being seen in more places like airports and shopping centers.

The FBI is not the only agency that has issued a warning about “juice jacking,” which is where a hacker uses public charging ports to steal things such as credit card numbers or install malware on a user’s device.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has also warned against the use of public charging stations. According to the warning, hackers can load malware onto the USB ports, giving them the ability to “maliciously” access devices.

“If your battery is running low, be aware that juicing up your electronic device at free USB port charging stations, such as those found near airport gates, in hotels and other travel-friendly locations, could have unfortunate consequences,” the FCC said. “You could become a victim of ‘juice jacking,’ a new cyber-theft tactic.”

Ritesh Chugh, an associate professor and technology and society expert at Central Queensland University, wrote in an email that public charging docks are a “significant privacy hazard,” The Washington Post reported.

According to Chugh, a malicious charging station can identify the web pages loaded on your phone’s browser in less than 10 seconds.

“As little as one minute of charging time may be adequate for compromising a user’s phone,” Chugh wrote.

According to, if you have used public charging stations and are losing phone battery life more quickly, notice high data usage, or have a noticeable slowdown in its operations, your phone may have been affected

If you think your phone has been hacked, you should install anti-virus software and if that doesn’t work reset your phone to factory settings.