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Juice jacking

Topics Covered: Cyber security related issues.

Juice jacking

What to study?

For Prelims: Meaning and how it works?

For Mains: Ways to prevent such malware attacks, potential threats.

Context: SBI has publicly issued a warning of ‘Juice Jacking’ through its twitter handle.

The bank has advised its customers and general public to “think twice before plugging-in their phone at (pubic) charging stations, as hackers can maliciously infect their smartphone with a malware.”

What is Juice Jacking?

It is an attack carried out by hackers through a USB charging cable.

 How it works?

When a user plugs in the charging cable in his mobile’s charging port, and connects it to any of the rigged charging stations installed at public spaces such as airports, train stations, hotels, cafes etc – it gives a back-door entry to hackers into the compromised device.

The charging port which is also used for data transfer over the USB, is pointed as the main cause of concern over here.


Installing malware, cleaning user data, asking ransom in exchange for access to personal data on the phone, personal and financial account hijacking are just some of the many nefarious things that a hacker can do with this unrestricted access.

Steps to Mitigate the Risks

In order to guard your phone against Juice Jacking, take these precautionary measures:

  1. Avoid using public charging stations. These are soft targets for hackers as they are often kept unguarded and without any surveillance.
  2. Always use your own AC charging adapter and cable for charging the device. And be sure to plug it into the AC wall socket, and not the USB socket on the wall.
  3. Stay guarded against a stranger’s device and laptop. Do not connect with an unknown person’s laptop or PC for charging your electronic devices and vice-versa.
  4. For emergency situations, buy and carry a certified power bank with enough capacity to take care of your device’s emergency power backup needs.
  5. Try to use a cable that can be used only as a charging cable and not a data cable.
  6. Frequent travelers should use a USB blocker.

Sources: the Hindu.