NBC: Why You Should Avoid Public Phone Charging Stations

People who have attended the Groundrod class by Combat Studies Group will already be familiar with this, but this NBC article tells people why using public phone charging stations may just be getting your phone hacked. You can get data blocking USB attachments which will allow your phone to charge but block any access to data.

“Low phone battery.”

It’s a notification that can inspire a sense of dread for anyone on the go without an outlet in sight.

And while free public charging stations have provided some relief in those situations, experts warn that powering up could give hackers a way into your personal information.

“Depending on the vulnerability they exploit, they would have access to everything you would have access to on your phone,” said cybersecurity expert Jim Stickley.

The practice, known as “juice jacking,” occurs when people plug in to “juice” up their phones and hackers use malware in the charging station or USB cable to “jack” their information, such as phone numbers and passwords.

The scam has prompted local authorities, including the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, to alert the public to think twice about plugging in at places like airports or malls.

“You might have seen a public USB charging station at an airport or shopping center. But be warned, a free charge could end up draining your bank account,” Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Luke Sisak said in a video warning in November.

To find out just how easy it can be for a hacker to gain access to a charging phone, Stickley gave NBC News access to a simulation he set up along the Port of San Diego in Southern California. Through special hardware installed in a homemade charging station, Stickley was able to watch and record everything being shown on the screen of a connected phone.

IMAGE: Jim Stickley
Cybersecurity expert Jim Stickley demonstrates how a hacker could access a person’s phone through a public charging station.NBC News

NBC News correspondent Vicky Nguyen posed as the first victim.

“Now we get to the best part. She’s actually entering in her credit card number,” Stickley said as he watched Nguyen shop on Home Depot online.

In four hours, dozens of people stopped at the makeshift charging station to power up their phones. Some expressed shock when they were told it was a setup.

A woman who identified herself as Ruth gave NBC News permission to access her phone through the charging station and demonstrate the type of information being retrieved from her device. In a matter of seconds, her personal Facebook messages popped up on a separate monitor.

“It’s dangerous,” Ruth said…

Click here to continue reading at NBC news.

American Partisan: Making the “Lightning”

JC Dodge has an article up at American Partisan about keeping your batteries for various important devices charged up when you can’t just plug in an AC adapter –Making The “Lightning” For Your Force Multipliers.

Making The “Lightning” For Your Force Multipliers
Winter ruckin'16

Charging the large fold up solar unit on top of my pack in the field.

Since the 90’s, I’ve carried a small solar charger for AA batteries in my kit. This was for keeping certain devices I had, like flashlights and PVS-7 NOD’s, operating in the field when there was no chance to get new batteries or charge the rechargeables I had on household 110 system. I started using CR123 batteries in the early 2000’s when I bought an IR laser that used a single 123 battery, and shortly after, I upgraded my weapons light to a two celled, CR123 powered, Surefire.

Solar post07

The DBAL and Surefire light on this M1A Socom both use CR123 batteries


The use of CR123 batteries put a gap in my preps because, at that time, no one was selling 123 rechargeables. Oh well, guess when they’re done, the IR laser and Surefire is done, right? I made sure I bought a lot of CR123’s for storage. Back in 2013 I found CR123 rechargeables that were made by a company called Tenergy, and I’ve been using them ever since. The caveat to using Tenergy 123’s is that their charge is a little higher than a normal CR123’s 3.2 Volts and two together will burn out a standard Surefire bulb immediately upon hitting the switch (ask me how I know…). No problem, I also ordered some programmable bulbs for my lights and I was back in business.

Last year I decided to get with the times and see if I could come up with alternative charging means to recharge not only my AA’s and CR123’s, but also my 9 Volt batteries for my laser range finder and heat (game) detector. My FLIR 24 which has an internal battery and recharges via micro USB also needed a way to get a boost in the field…

Click here to read the rest of the story at American Partisan.