Charging your phone in a public place? Beware!

by | Apr 19, 2023 | Security

Phone charger

FBI recommends avoiding free charging stations in airports, hotels, or shopping centers, as it may put your security at risk.

Recently on Twitter, the FBI cautioned that, “Bad actors have figured out ways to use public USB ports to introduce malware and monitoring software onto devices.”

Imagine you arrive at the airport or train station and realize that your battery is almost exhausted after your long phone call in your Uber.  You don’t want to spend 2 hours on the plane without your phone. You look for a power source. There you see it – a cherished USB charging station! So simple and convenient. There’s a cable, a bench to sit on, and a desktop to multitask (e.g., make a call, check SM, binge on the latest season of Succession, relax). You’re in a rush to catch a plane or make a client call. Perhaps, your cable is tangled, frayed, or buried in your bag. You think I’ll just use this one right there!

Not so fast, choose to be security smart!


Why is a public charging station dangerous to my phone?

We use USB cables and flash drives so frequently that we forget that these innocent conveniences offer hackers one of the easiest entry points into our digital worlds. Malware installed through a dirty USB port can lock a device or export personal data and passwords directly to a perpetrator. Criminals often exploit our human desire for convenience and freebies by leaving “extra” cables plugged in at the stations or sharing promotional flash drives. It’s tempting and hackers know it.

Don’t be tempted. Avoid public charging stations to protect yourself.


What you can do to protect yourself if your battery is low:

  • Bring your own charger, dig it out, and use it.
  • Find and use an electrical outlet instead.
  • Purchase an emergency power bank to keep in your bag.
  • Buy an extra charging cable and leave it in your carry-on.
  • Don’t put a cable or flash drive into your phone or computer unless you know it is safe.



Safe travels!








John Ahlberg
CEO, Waident

CIO in the corporate world and now for Waident clients. John injects order and technology into business process to keep employees productive, enterprises running, and data safe.


Related posts

The Pitfalls of Unwisely Retiring Old Office Technology

The Pitfalls of Unwisely Retiring Old Office Technology

Pursuing sustainability is a noble goal and more and more environmentally conscious businesses are rising to the challenge. A common example is upgrading and then reselling old technology like routers, firewalls, and switches to others who extract more life out of...

Your Phishing Guide: How to protect your business

Your Phishing Guide: How to protect your business

One of the most common ways to breach business systems is phishing. All it takes is one employee, one email, one click and your business is at risk and your data vulnerable. Email phishing is a type of cyber-attack that has been around for many years and continues to...

A Cyber-risk Self-Assessment that Makes a Difference

A Cyber-risk Self-Assessment that Makes a Difference

Dealing with cybersecurity is on nobody’s fun list. While there are a ton of moving parts that affect nearly all aspects of your business in a thorough cybersecurity plan, it is much easier than you may think to protect your business. I know this as a business owner,...

Subscribe to our blog!

Get our latest thinking to keep your people productive, your enterprise running, and your data safe.

Accessibility Toolbar

Share This