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URGENT: FBI Warns America Not to Use Popular Public Amenity

The FCC has made similar warnings as well.

In this daring new digital age, the threats we face in cyberspace are growing both more potent and more stealthy as the weeks roll on.  Each and every day, those who lurk in the shadows of the internet are finding new ways to target us, harass us, or collect data from us.

The FBI is now warning that a popular public amenity may be the ne’er-do-wells newest tool.

The FBI is warning people to not use public phone charging stations, which have become increasingly popular in places like airports and shopping malls.

The problem is that hackers have found a way to introduce malware and other software onto devices through the public stations, the FBI said.

“Avoid using free charging stations in airports, hotels or shopping centers,” the FBI’s Denver Twitter account said. “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.”

The FBI suggested that this warning was not preempted by any specific incident.

It wasn’t just the Bureau who was worried, either.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also warns against their use on its website, saying hackers are able to load malware onto the USB ports, giving them the ability to “maliciously” access devices. The agency calls it “juice jacking.”

“If your battery is running low, be aware that juicing up your electronic device at free USB port charging stations, such as those found near airport gates, in hotels and other travel-friendly locations, could have unfortunate consequences,” the FCC said. “You could become a victim of ‘juice jacking,’ a new cyber-theft tactic.”

The FCC has suggested that individuals who often find themselves needing to use these stations purchase portable charging devices that they can bring with them from home.

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