Don’t Get Juiced: How to Avoid Cyberattacks When Charging Your Devices

Aleke Francis AO

Juice jacking is a type of cyberattack that exploits the vulnerability of devices that use the same cable for charging and data transfer, such as smartphones and tablets. The attacker can either install malware on the device or steal sensitive data from it by plugging a malicious USB device into the device while it is charging at a public USB port. This article will explain how juice jacking works, the risks involved, and how to prevent them.

How juice jacking works
When a device connects to another device via a USB cable, it establishes a trusted relationship that allows data exchange. This means that the device that provides the power can also access the data on the device that receives the power. For example, when you plug your phone into your computer, you may see a message on your computer asking whether to trust the device or not. If you trust the device, you can transfer files, photos, contacts, and other information between them.

However, in the case of juice jacking, the device owner does not see what the USB port connects to. So when they plug in their phone at a public charging station, such as at an airport or a hotel, they may unknowingly expose their device to a hidden computer or a compromised USB cable that can infect their device with malware or copy their data without their consent.

Risks to your devices and data from juice jacking
The consequences of juice jacking can vary depending on the type and sophistication of the attack. Some of the possible risks are:

1. Data theft: The attacker can steal personal information from your device, such as your passwords, credit card numbers, bank accounts, contacts, emails, photos, and social media accounts. They can use this information to impersonate you, access your online accounts, make fraudulent transactions, or sell your data to other criminals.

2. Malware installation: The attacker can install malicious software on your device that can monitor your activities, track your location, record your keystrokes, access your camera and microphone, or hijack your device functions. The malware can also spread to other devices that you connect to your infected device, such as your computer or other phones.

3. Device damage: The attacker can damage your device by corrupting its software, deleting its files, locking its screen, or draining its battery. They can also demand a ransom to restore your device functionality or data.

How to prevent juice jacking
The best way to prevent juice jacking is to avoid using public USB ports or cables for charging your devices. Instead, you can use one of the following alternatives:

1. Use your own charger and plug it into a regular power outlet.

2. Use a portable battery pack or power bank that you charge at home.

3. Use a USB condom or data blocker that blocks the data pins on the USB cable and only allows power transfer.

3. Use a wireless charger that does not require a physical connection.

4. Turn off your device or enable airplane mode while charging at a public port.

Notably, If you have to use a public USB port or cable for charging your device, you should take some precautions to minimize the risk of juice jacking:

1. Lock your device with a strong password or biometric authentication before plugging it in.

2. Disable USB debugging and file transfer options on your device settings.

3. Do not leave your device unattended while charging.

4. Monitor your device for any unusual behavior or notifications after charging.

5. Scan your device for malware and update its software regularly.

In a nutshell, Juice jacking is a potential threat to anyone who uses devices that charge and transfer data via USB cables. By being aware of how juice jacking works and what are the risks involved, you can protect yourself and your devices from this cyberattack. Remember to always use your own charger and power source whenever possible, and be careful when using public USB ports or cables for charging your devices.


Aleke Francis AO is a Cybersecurity expert, CyberThreat Intelligence Analyst, Researcher and an InfoTech blogger – A Team Lead InfoTech News Hauz & CyberTech Tips. He can be reached via, 08062062303