- Researchers at DEF CON recently demonstrated that snooping gear could be hidden inside charging stations commonly found in airports and other public places.
- The researchers showed how hackers could rig a USB cord to catch everything that appears on a smartphone screen, including PIN, bank passwords and personal emails and texts, according to NBC News.
- Though it does not appear the public charging scam is common at this point, experts suggest using a personal portable charger rather than a public charging station.
"Awareness is key," said Brian Markus, CEO of Aries Security, the firm that conducted the research. "People should be aware that plugging in their phone to a connection of even a friend of theirs could be dangerous because they don't know if their friend['s phone] has an infection or has had their device tampered with."
Educating mobile workers about the dangers of threats like public charging stations or unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots is critical to protecting the enterprise. While most mobile user activity is for personal use, people can still sometimes access proprietary information that can threaten the integrity of enterprise data security.
In June, Avast Software conducted an experiment to see how many people would log on to free, unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots near the site of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. More than 1,200 people connected to the fake Wi-Fi networks set up by Avast Software, the researchers said. Of the people who connected to the networks, Avast found 68% left their personal information exposed.