Are public charge points safe to use?

While concerns about the physical safety of public charging points for electric vehicles have been addressed, another aspect that is often overlooked is the potential cyber security risks. With the rise of connected technologies, including electric vehicle charging infrastructure, there is a growing concern about the possibility of cyber-attacks targeting these systems. In this blog, we will explore the cyber security risks associated with public charging points for electric vehicles and discuss the measures in place to mitigate these risks. 

What is Juice Jacking? 

The risk with using public charging points comes from Juice Jacking which is the unauthorised data transfer to or from the device over the charging cable, this is made possible as many the cables used for charging also allow for data transfer. This potential for data transfer could result in sensitive information being taken from the device or malware being uploaded to the device without the user’s knowledge. Malware once on a mobile device could take sensitive information from the device and could allow for more malware to be uploaded to the device. 

How widespread are the attacks? 

Whilst it is possible for Juice Jacking to occur it is not a widespread method that is used by malicious actors, though a recent tweet from the FBI could be a sign that there has been an increase in this type of cyber-attack. The Los Angeles County District Attorneys’ Office also published an advisory warning about the dangers of Juice Jacking in 2019. 

How can you protect yourself? 

There are ways that you can protect yourself from this risk, the best protection would simply be to not use public charge points. However, there are situations where may you need to charge your device whilst away from a proper plug socket. If this happens there are still steps, you can take to protect yourself. There are cables that have the charging functionality but do not allow for data transfer using these will prevent any information from being taken from the device and will also prevent malware from being uploaded. There are also power banks/portable batteries that can be used to charge devices on the go. 

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Daniel Gardner
Daniel Gardner
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