The Kolkata Police cyber cell has warned against a gang of cyber criminals who load malware into devices being charged using public USB ports. The cops have recently released a cartoon story to spread awareness among the public regarding the matter.
According to cyber expert Hrithik Lall, once the malware is loaded into the device, the fraudsters gain access to sensitive information, like contacts, photos, videos, credit card details, bank account data and UPI details. They can possibly then siphon funds from accounts or use credit card details for payments. The crime only comes to light when victims check their accounts or get a message about the transactions.
“The fraud – termed juice jacking – can lead to data theft and malware installation, which can even lead to cloning,” said a joint CP.
The police said though it was found that some people carry their own chargers or power banks, many depend on public charging stations, like bus stands, railway stations, malls and other places. “Since one is in a hurry and in need of charging their device at these places, chances of malpractice increases,” said an officer.
Cyber experts say there are a few steps to keep mobile information safe even on the move. “Always use your own charger cable and power adapter, and plug it into a traditional wall outlet instead of using public charging ports that have a USB connection. Use a portable battery pack instead of relying on public charging stations,” an officer said.
“If you get a prompt on your phone asking if you trust the device it is plugged into, that device may be attempting to transfer data from your phone. Consider turning off your device while it charges to keep information safe,” an expert said.