Public charging ports: Are they really safe?

Public charging ports: Are they really safe?

Published: Aug 26, 2021

Public USB charging stations are everywhere these days. But just how secure are they? Be wary of an attack known as juice jacking, where criminals hide malicious software in public USB ports or use the ports to steal your data.

Juice jacking at a glance

  • Juice jacking is a security threat involving public USB ports. These ports don’t only transmit power; they also allow for the transfer of data.

  • When you use a public USB port or cable, crooks may be able to steal information from your device or install malware into it.

  • This malware may lock you out of your device, or send account information (e.g. passwords) to hackers.

  • This scam is not widespread at the moment; regardless, it’s good practice to be wary of where you plug your device.

Tips to avoid juice jacking

  • When charging in public, use an electrical outlet instead of a USB port.

  • Carry your device charger and cable when you’re on the go.

  • Invest in a portable charger (tip: you can charge it without worrying about juice jacking).

  • Check your device USB setting to make sure it does not allow data transfer by default.

Check device USB settings


  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Tap Touch ID & Passcode or Face ID & Passcode.

  3. Enter your passcode.

  4. Scroll to USB Accessories and check that it is toggled off. When toggled off, your device will disable data transfer via the Lightning port an hour after locking your device.

This feature is available on devices running iOS 11.4.1 and above.


  1. Plug your phone into a trusted USB port (e.g. your personal laptop) using a cable.

  2. A pop-up asking "Allow access to phone data?" should appear.

  3. Select Allow or Deny. As a general rule, choose Deny when charging publically.

Android (Others)

  1. Plug your phone into a trusted USB port (e.g. your personal laptop) using a cable.

  2. Go to Settings > Connected devices > USB (Charging this device).

  3. Under USE USB FOR, check that the No data transfer option is selected. If not, select it.

Data transfer via USB is turned off by default on Android devices.

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