Charging Stations

Your battery is about dead and as luck would have it, you find a public mobile charging station. Saved!

Not so quick!

A smartphone can be hacked easily if you plug it in to charge via USB at a public place like an airport, cafe or on public transport. Researchers at Kaspersky Labs found that they could install a third-party application, like a virus, onto the phone via its USB cable connection to a computer. It took them under three minutes.

They also found that the Android and iOS phones tested leaked a host of private data to the computer they were connected to whilst charging, including the device name, device manufacturer, device type, serial number and even a list of files.

The report noted that your phone could be silently packed with anything from adware to ransomware. And, if you’re a decision-maker in a big company, you could easily become the target of professional hackers. Hackers have already exploited this connection: in 2013, Italian hackers known as “The Hacking Team” were able to infect a phone with malware through a computer connection. They plotted the attack based on the device model of the victim, which the hackers managed to get through the USB-connected computer.

What do you tell your employees about charging their devices????  

How to be safe. 

  1. Only plug your phone into trusted computers, using trusted USB cables
  2. Protect your mobile phone with a password, or with another method such as fingerprint recognition, and don’t unlock it while charging.
  3. Use encrypted apps like WhatsApp and iMessage to communicate
  4. Antiviruses can be a bore, but they help to detect malware even if a “charging” vulnerability is used.
  5. Update your mobile operating system to the most recent version, as that will have the most up-to-date bug fixes.—your-phone-can-be-hacked/