Is It Safe To Charge Your Phones at Theme Parks or Other Public Spaces?
The FBI took to social media this month to issue a warning about using public phone charging stations. This warning is particularly pertinent to travelers who may commonly use the charging stations at airports, hotels, and other public spaces. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, hackers are becoming savvy when it comes to these public areas to “plugin” potentially exposing travelers to malicious software.
You can check out the official tweet from the Denver branch of the FBI below:
Avoid using free charging stations in airports, hotels or shopping centers. Bad actors have figured out ways to use public USB ports to introduce malware and monitoring software onto devices. Carry your own charger and USB cord and use an electrical outlet instead. pic.twitter.com/9T62SYen9T
— FBI Denver (@FBIDenver) April 6, 2023
Though the FBI did not cite specific examples of malicious software being found at public charging stations they have advised that these phone charging hubs can be used to spread monitoring software and malware. Though public chargers are convenient for travelers who may find themselves out and about with when their phones run out of battery power the threat posed by using public charging stations is not new. The term “juice jacking” to describe the hack has been around since 2011.
According to a recent piece on CNN, the cord used to charge phones is also used to transmit data. For instance, when you plug your phone into your computer using the same charging cord, you’re able to transmit photos, music, and other files. “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, formerly of security firm Authentic8, explained to CNN in 2017.
This means that hackers could have access to a wide array of information from emails and text messages to personal photos. The Federal Communication Commission is also warning travelers to exercise caution as, “In some cases, criminals may have intentionally left cables plugged in at charging stations.” The FCC continues, “There have even been reports of infected cables being given away as promotional gifts.”
Though the recent warning cites no instances of data being compromised at places like Walt Disney World, travelers should always be cautious. Currently, there are two charging stations at the Magic Kingdom. One is next to Pete’s Silly Sideshow in Storybook Circus and the other is next to “it’s a small world.”
With Disney shifting toward the use of cell phones over MagicBands, we always recommend that you bring your own portable charger. This allows you to pre-charge a battery that you can then use to recharge your phones while at the parks without having to plug into public stations.
Readers are encouraged to keep following along with MickeyBlog for further Walt Disney World news and updates. We’ll be coming to you LIVE! from the theme parks each and every week.
Have you heard the news? MickeyTravels just earned the incredible distinction of being a Diamond Earmarked Agency!
Whether it’s a visit to the theme parks, a Disney cruise, a stay at Aulani in Hawaii, or the trip of a lifetime with Adventures by Disney, I can’t wait to help you plan your vacation utilizing all of our incredible concierge-level services. This includes discount monitoring, itinerary planning, flexible booking and so much more. Best of all my services are 100% FREE!