Protect Traveling Employees from Juice Jacking

As our dependence on mobile devices grows, the ways hackers can steal our information grows too. With more and more public facilities (such as airports, train stations, malls, etc.) installing readily accessible charging stations for cell phones, tablets and laptops, “juice jacking” has become a new cyber threat  for business travelers as cyber criminals are now loading malware into some of these charging stations.  Juice jacking can occur when an individual accesses a USB cable or port that has been loaded with malware.  This malware can give a hacker access to the device, including passwords, email accounts and credit card numbers saved within. Public charging stations are especially vulnerable to this type of cybercrime as a hacker can simply rip out the USB port of a public charging station and replace public cables with their own infected hardware.

Company issued phones and laptops aren’t the only devices that could put your business at risk when employees travel. Many employees save their passwords and other work sensitive information on their personal devices too. This means juice jacking can put your company’s data at risk even if no company equipment is compromised.

An article from Risk & Insurance highlights five tips from The New York Times on how to protect your device from a juice jack attack.

  1. Bring your own cables: Encouraging your employees to bring their own USB cable while traveling can help avoid the need to use public cables that could be infected.
  2. Use a power outlet: Power outlets are difficult to remove and infect with malware. This makes them a much safer way to charge a device than a USB port.
  3. Invest in a portable charger: Portable chargers can help avoid low batteries which will eliminate the need for your employees to access a public charging station. Making portable chargers available to employees can help ensure a reliable charging source is always available.
  4. Avoid chargers given out as promotional gifts: USB chargers are often given away as promotional items at business conferences or expos. These free chargers can be easily manipulated to look like a safe cable while being loaded with viruses.
  5. Get a Data Blocker for your USB cords:  One of the best ways to protect a device is a new attachable protective device for USB cables known as USB Data Blocker (commonly referred to as a USB condom). These devices can disable the data pin on a USB charger to prevent it from sending or receiving data. These devices can be purchased for around $5.

Organizations should educate their employees about juice jacking and similar risks that not only put the individual’s information in jeopardy, but also the organizations’.  Speak to an advisor today about how you can protect your employees and implement these cybersecurity tips at your organization.