Nothing to see here. “No Juice Jackers in Boston.”
Such crimes only happen elsewhere. That seems to be the message from Logan Airport and our local Boston FBI office, the latter choosing not to retweet a warning issued by the agency’s Denver office. That warning didn’t merit social media sharing by the Boston FBI because juice jacking is “not really an issue here.”
So, what is juice jacking? Juice jacking is a crime that uses public USB ports to steal important data from or install malware on connected devices such as cell phones, laptops, or tablets. Public USB ports include those in airports, hotels, even those in bars and restaurants. Any outlet with unrestricted access.
The prudent advice is not to use such outlets; there is a chance that someone has tampered with them. Bring your own charger/cord and plug into an electrical outlet. Better yet, bring a portable power booster or power pack.
It’s that simple, which is why I am surprised to see the Boston authorities relying on the classic, Amity Island (Jaws) playbook: Nothing to see here, folks. Wouldn’t want to cause a panic.
Where’s the harm in passing on a warning about the dangers of using public USB chargers? Who cares if people stop plugging into them? Airport, hotel, and bar patronage will not suffer. The USB outlets don’t drive customer traffic, nor do they generate revenue.
Consider this as well. Just because juice jacking is not a problem now, what prevents it from happening here in the future? Answer: Nothing.
So, since the local Chamber of Commerce apparently disapproves of crime-related warnings, I will conclude by offering some updated barroom wisdom instead: There is no such thing as a free charge . . . don’t use public USB charging ports.
Be wary, not worried. Learn more by contacting me here.
Peter has spent the past twenty-plus years as an acting/consulting CFO for a number of small businesses in a wide range of industries. Peter’s prior experience is that of a serial entrepreneur, managing various start-up and turnaround projects. He is a co-founder of Keurig.