WhoshouldIsee Tracks

What are the risks of public phone charging?

Public phone charging juice jacking

This month the FBI warned that using public charging may put your data at risk but what are the REAL risks of using public phone charging?

ChargeBox has provided secure charging solutions for public use since 2005. We are privileged to partner with many of the world’s best-known retail, education, public transport, healthcare and event organisations.

We have never experienced a breach  of our users’ data in all that time with over 55 million charges provided!

So let’s look at what we know about public charging stations and the risks you need to be aware of when using one.

What is Juice-Jacking?

“Juice Jacking” is a cyber-attack where a hacker gains unauthorised access to a device such as a smartphone by compromising the USB port.  Once malware is installed on a device, it can perform various malicious actions, such as stealing sensitive data, track user activity, or even give hackers remote access to the device. 

OMG, that sounds scary. Does it happen a lot?

No, it doesn’t.  It’s unclear how common these attacks are; any instances have not been widely publicised.  The risk was first identified in 2011, so it’s not a new threat.

So, the risk of it happening is extremely low?

The risk of ‘Juice Jacking’ is infinitely small. However, your safety and access to essential phone capabilities are at risk if your battery is low or out of power.  These risks are far higher than the danger of having your device hacked. 

So are public charging solutions safe?

It’s not possible to say, with absolute 100% certainty, that ALL public charging solutions are safe but as with most things in life, it’s up to the individual to make informed decisions.

That makes sense. Can I limit the likelihood of this happening to me?

It’s important to practice good cybersecurity habits.  Here’s what we recommend:

  1. Always keep your device up-to-date with software updates, especially security updates. This is your first level of protection against any form of attack on your device in any situation.
  2. Once software updates are no longer available due to the age of your device, you should consider getting a newer device. 
  3. If you are using a public charging solution, where are you? If you’re in a location managed by a respectable company, you can expect that company to have procured a safe & secure solution that can’t be tampered with. 
  4. If you’re unsure who is providing a solution, look for a name and a website. Check the origins of the equipment, the company, and its data and device security pledges.

What precautions does ChargeBox take to ensure the safest and most secure charging experience?

  1. Our charging solutions, including electronics and firmware, are designed and manufactured in the UK. We use our own software to control our solutions with the highest levels of security in mind. 
  2. We are governed by national laws in the countries we operate, and our business depends on our end users having a great experience and our clients who host ChargeBox giving a great experience to their visitors. 
  3. ChargeBox solutions are connected securely to our servers, giving us precise information about operational levels and recording the safety of the charge.
  4. The charging components and cable endings we use are all securely locked so they are not accessible to third-party agents without evidence of tampering.

Isn’t this all a storm in a teacup? Surely the FBI has got more significant cybersecurity concerns to deal with?

Yes!  It distracts from device and data safety dangers for which the FBI has been notably absent – namely, the sophisticated malware attacks aided by systems such as Pegasus and others.

Finally, out of interest, what data does ChargeBox access?

Our users’ data privacy is a fundamental aspect of our business model and company ethics. For complete details of your data privacy with any interactions with our stations or our company please visit: 


Thanks for reading!