USB Charger Scam: Government of India Warns Users Against Using Public Charging Ports

By Reetika Bhatt - April 1, 2024
When USB ports in public places are used to charge gadgets, cyber criminals may take advantage of them to trick people into falling victim to "juice-jacking attacks." Read on to learn more.

There are several public places where people can charge their smartphones and other gadgets in an emergency, including hotels, cafes, and airports. The Government of India recently issued a warning regarding the ongoing "USB Charger Scam" to warn the citizens against the utilisation of these locations for charging their gadgets. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology's Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) took to its social media handle to warn that cyber criminals could exploit charging ports located in the above-mentioned public spaces for malicious activities. Here's all you need to know about the same.  

When these USB connections are used to charge gadgets, hackers may take advantage of them to trick people into falling victim to "juice-jacking attacks." The national cybersecurity agency also provided safety advice in a post shared on X (formerly Twitter) to help users from falling for similar scams.



What is 'Juice-Jacking'?

Juice jacking, according to a report by TechTarget, is an attack in which devices are compromised through a USB cable's accessible pins on an infected USB port. CERT-In cautions that doing so could cause malicious programs to be installed. Cyber criminals might also be able to use it to encrypt the device's data and demand ransom in exchange for decrypting it. Finally, it might result in cases of scammers stealing data. 

The Preventive Measures

The CERT-In agency has suggested a few safe practices to keep in mind before charging your device using this type of connection.

- In the event of an emergency, make sure everything is in working order and consider your options before using any of the easily accessible USB charging ports or "portable wall chargers" to charge your phone.

- To avoid using public USB outlets, choose standard electrical outlets when available, or carry your own charging cables or power banks.

- To stop unauthorised access or data compromise, use device security features like PIN or password locks and refrain from connecting to unknown or untrusted devices.

- Turning off devices while charging lowers vulnerability to outside threats and reduces the chance of cyberattacks.

- Update the software on your smartphone regularly to address security flaws and keep yourself safe from new threats.

- Installing malware or virus detection software can provide an additional layer of protection against malicious attacks.

Report the USB charging scam as soon as possible by calling 1930 or submitting a cybercrime report at It is critical to take immediate action to handle any potential ramifications of the scam.

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