Dangers of Public Charging Stations and Public WiFi

Public Charging

Nowadays, we rely heavily on public WiFi and public USB port charging stations to stay connected and keep our devices powered up. The problem is that these conveniences also bring along a bunch of security risks that we often tend to overlook.

That’s why we’ve put together some of the most common security threats you could encounter and how to safeguard yourself from an attack.

Juice Jacking and Identity Theft

Using public WiFi networks to access sensitive information can be a real gamble. You see, these networks are like a playground for hackers who are just waiting for an opportunity to steal your identity by taking control of your login credentials, credit card numbers, and other sensitive data.

It doesn’t stop there, though. Once they get access to your devices, they can dig deeper and compromise not just your personal data but possibly even organizational data.

Another common way they do this is through juice jacking, where hackers plant malware on public USB port charging stations that can infect your device when you connect it to charge. They can then access your personal information or even control your device.

Bluetooth hacks can also occur in public places, as hackers can exploit weaknesses in Bluetooth connections to gain access to your device.

Tips for Safeguarding Your Data

In today’s world, where public WiFi and charging stations have become a lifeline for many of us, it’s important to be on our guard and safeguard our sensitive information. Here are some valuable tips to bolster your cybersecurity:

1. Avoid Public USB Port Charging Stations

We’ve all been there—running low on battery and desperately searching for a USB port charging station or outlet. It’s tempting to use that easily accessible public charging spot.  Instead, it’s much better to stick to trusted charging outlets in the comfort of your home, office, or hotel, where you have more control over the environment.

To avoid running out of battery power, try bringing along a spare external battery.  Another option is to use AC power outlets, which would require that you have an appropriate AC adapter and your own USB cables. There is also a cable you can purchase which is for charging only.  It does not allow data to be sent or received while charging.  Just be sure the cable is from a supplier you trust.    

2. Be Wary of Bluetooth Devices

Bluetooth is notorious for being insecure, and unfortunately, hackers know this all too well. They can exploit these vulnerabilities to their advantage. To protect yourself, it’s best to avoid pairing your device with unfamiliar gadgets or devices you don’t trust. It’s always better to err on the side of caution.

Here’s a simple yet effective tip: When you’re not actively using Bluetooth, make sure to turn it off. By doing so, you’re closing off any potential entry points for unwanted intruders. It’s all about being mindful of your device’s security and taking those extra steps to keep it safe.

3. Strong Passwords and Multi-Factor Authentication

Having a strong password is crucial to protecting yourself from hackers. Make sure your passwords are lengthy, intricate, and distinct for each of your accounts. To simplify the process of generating and managing passwords, consider using a password manager. Alongside passwords, you might want to activate multi-factor authentication (MFA) as an additional security measure.

4. Update Your Software

It’s important to keep your software and security programs up to date to safeguard your devices against new vulnerabilities. By regularly updating your software, you can benefit from security patches that address any flaws and introduce additional security features. This proactive approach helps ensure the ongoing protection of your devices.

5. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Using a VPN is a great way to secure your internet connection and protect your data from hackers. It’s especially important when using public Wi-Fi networks. Nowadays, many companies offer private networks, or VPNs, to establish a safer environment for their employees and customers.

6. Be Aware of Encryption

It’s really important to pay attention to encryption levels when it comes to your online security. The strongest Wi-Fi encryption protocol out there is  WPA3 (Wi-Fi Protected Access) , so before connecting to a network, always check its encryption level to ensure a higher level of protection.

In a world where hackers constantly evolve and improve their tactics, you must keep up to date on how to keep your personal and corporate information as secure as possible.  One way to do this is by partnering with cybersecurity experts who can help you improve data security and future-proof against attacks. As one of the leading providers of cybersecurity assessments and cybersecurity solutions in the Greater Toronto area, BSC Solutions Group Ltd. can help you and your organizations be proactive in the fight against cyber criminals. Talk to us about your concerns today!