Beware of Juice Jacking: What It Is, How It Works and How to Protect Yourself


As Australians flock to Europe or Bali to escape the winter chill, one essential travel companion remains constant – our smartphones. However, this persistent need to stay connected can expose us to a cyber hazard known as “juice jacking.” Whether you’re a frequent traveller or spend much time away from home, it’s critical to recognize this growing concern and the precautions you can take to keep safe.


What exactly is Juice Jacking?

Juice jacking is a method of cyber theft that uses public USB charging connectors to implant malware on linked devices. These public charging stations can be located in airports, hotels, cafes, and bus stops, making them an ideal target for cybercriminals. When you plug your smartphone, tablet, or other portable device into a hacked port, malware may be installed to export personal data and passwords or even lock the device.


What Is Juice Jacking?

The underlying premise of juice jacking is simple. When you connect your device to a USB port, electrical power may be delivered, and data can also be exchanged. Cybercriminals use this functionality by installing malware on public USB charging stations. When an unwitting traveller puts in their gadget to charge, malware can be introduced, stealing sensitive data or performing other malicious activity.


How to Protect Yourself from Juice Jacking

  1. Use an AC power outlet, not a USB charging station.
  2. Take AC and car chargers for your devices when travelling.
  3. Consider buying a portable charger for emergencies.
  4. Select ‘Charge Only; if you must use a public USB port, select ‘Charge only’ when prompted on your device. This prevents any data flow between your device and the USB port.


Aside from juice jacking, tourists should be cautious of insecure public Wi-Fi networks, which are another popular entry point for cyber attacks. To keep your data safe, always practice safe internet conduct while travelling.

While the risk of juice jacking is still low, it is a sharp reminder of the constantly changing array of cyber threats we face today. Maintain vigilance, travel wisely, and keep your electronics secure!