Don’t charge your phone in public

Have you ever charged your device using a public USB port? New research has revealed that smartphones can be compromised in as little as three minutes.

You’ve probably never thought twice about charging your smartphone or tablet in public, especially if you’re facing an entire day far from home with a dead battery.

But if you stop and think about it, it’s a pretty risky move. After all, your phone’s USB connection is designed to charge your device as well as transfer data (quickly).

Researchers at Kaspersky Labs, a cybersecurity firm, recently found that they could install a virus onto a smartphone in less than three minutes.

Once your device is compromised there’s no knowing what hackers will do. They might attempt to break your device, ransom your personal details or record you using your own camera.

The scary thing is that once your device becomes infected, hackers don’t have to take action right away – they can bide their time. When they do make a move, you may have no idea how or when your device was compromised.

Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself:

  • don’t plug your device into a public USB port if you can avoid it; instead, carry a portable power bank or a wall charger with you
  • if you must charge your phone using a public USB port, make sure your device is secured with a password, pin or fingerprint; and do not unlock it while it is plugged in
  • always keep the software in your device up-to-date
  • install an antivirus app which can help to detect threats.


Do you charge your phone in public?

Related articles:
What to do if you’ve been hacked
Five best portable battery chargers
Can the CIA hack your smartphone?

YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.
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