Hackers can infect them with malware and use the USB cord to access your phone from the other end.
If you receive a transfer file prompt when charging your phone at a public charging station, unplug it immediately.
There's no doubting that public charging stations are useful when a phone's battery is about to expire, but they may now also serve as a conduit for hackers to steal your data. Odisha Police has issued a warning as hackers infect public chargers with malware and connect the USB cord on the other end to access your phone that has been tampered with.
While you're distracted by free charging services, hackers attack your phone with malware and steal your personal information. This is known as Juice Jacking.
It's important to note that we're talking about a USB charging port here, not a conventional electric switch socket that you connect into your charging adapter. Hackers may likely link the USB charging ports to various gadgets.
When you connect your phone to any of these charging connectors, it becomes insecure and prone to data theft. Hackers might take control of your phone and use it to perform criminality. You won't even realise these activities are taking place via/to your phone via these USB connections.
Most cellphones presently limit data transfer by default and only allow you to share files if you enable it explicitly. When you connect your phone to your computer, for example, you'll get a window asking if you want to exchange files or charge the device. If you receive that alert when charging your phone at a public charging station, unplug it immediately.
To combat juice jacking, bring a power bank or smartphone charger and charge your phone using a wall outlet.