Everyone has experienced the dreaded low battery on your phone or pad. It usually happens at the worst time, like when you get a bogus text from your kid’s coach to pick-up your child from practice right now. As you’re typing a frantic reply to get more info, your phone’s low battery warnings start flashing adding to your anxiety.

In the heat of the moment, you see it – a strange yet beckoning USB charging station. It could be at an airport, mall, or coffee shop. But it’s there offering what you need – power. Without thinking you pull out your phone and connect to the anonymous USB port. The growing charge indicator provides an immediate sense of satisfaction.

TecAdvocates looks at juice-jacking and USB condoms

As power restores you’re able to read the entire text only to learn that practice ended early and you can come pick-up your kid. You exhale in relief realizing there is no emergency and all is well.

But all is not well, particularly with your phone.

The USB interface not only gives, but it takes. It’s a multi-purpose channel that provides power and exchanges data. That’s why a USB connected device can play music on external speakers or backup pictures to a PC.

How do you know that USB port didn’t download your important data or upload malware while providing that seemly free recharge?  The answer is you don’t. It happens and is called juice-jacking.  Seriously, that’s what it’s called and it occurs when data is hijacked from a mobile device when getting “juice” at a public kiosk USB.

How can you protect from juice-jacking when powering up from a public USB?

Use protection.

Use a USB condom.

No, you don’t wrap your phone in latex. The USB condom is a dongle that plugs between your device and the untrusted port allowing a rejuvenating recharged without fear of data theft or malware infection. Any phone, pad, or Windows device that charges via USB needs protection when connecting to an unknown port.

Here’s one USB condom that’s less than $7!

If you travel or you’re that person who is always running on a low battery, this device is a must-have. Enjoy all the pleasure of a free charge without the risk. Use protection. Use a USB condom.

TecAdvocates looks at juice-jacking and USB condoms