When you’re out and about on a busy day, one of the worst things to see is the 5% battery remaining warning on your phone. We’ve all been there.
Before you rush over to the nearest public USB port or outlet to plug in your phone, consider this: your phone could be hacked.
“Just by plugging your phone into a [compromised] power strip or charger, your device is now infected, and that compromises all your data,” Drew Paik of security company Authentic8 tells CNN.
Public charging stations and wi-fi access points have become prevalent in many places like parks, airports and conference centers.
The USB cord used for charging your phone also sends data between devices. For example, the cord is used to download your photos and other data to your computer. Plugging into a compromised outlets, allows hackers to access your data, which may include emails, photos, and contacts.
Palik suggests relying on a portable charger. “Don’t use public ports,” he adds. “If [you’re] desperate and need to upload your selfie, take your chances.”