FBI warns travelers of malware/monitoring software risks at free charging stations

FBI Denver has is advising civilians to use their own portable chargers.


Free charging stations are a staple of airports, bus stations, and other public places where large groups of people tend to gather and wait. While these charging stations can be a lifesaver while away from home, the government has warned that they might not be so safe right now. The FBI has issued a statement urging people not to use free charging stations in public places, as they’re being used to spread malware and tracking software.

The FBI Denver Twitter account tweeted a PSA against using free charging stations earlier this morning. The charging stations are littered throughout airports and can also be found at various public places. The organization doesn’t provide many details or context surrounding its findings, but its messaging is clear: people should avoid public charging stations until further notice.

An iPhone plugged into a free charging point at an airport

Source: WUSA9

Since the tweet comes from the FBI Denver account and not the FBI proper, it’s unclear if the issues with malware and monitoring software are specifically an issue in the Denver, Colorado area, or something affecting the United States at large. With that in mind, it’s probably safe to say that everyone in the United States should avoid public charging stations if they want to err on the side of caution.

The FBI has encouraged people to use their own portable chargers, which are probably a good investment even outside of widespread malware attacks. If the FBI provides an update with more information on the situation, we’ll be sure to update this article.

News Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Scream nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

From The Chatty
  • reply
    April 10, 2023 11:20 AM

    Donovan Erskine posted a new article, FBI warns travelers of malware/monitoring software risks at free charging stations

    • reply
      April 10, 2023 11:27 AM

      yep. USE THE POWER PLUG NOT THE USB PLUG. constant evolution of "skimmer" style gizmos designed explicitly for nefarious purposes.

      • reply
        April 10, 2023 11:54 AM

        Also might be good to have a power-only charging cable that straight up does not have any data wires in it.

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          April 10, 2023 12:28 PM

          Not a great idea with modern devices. Better to use a USB condom.

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      April 10, 2023 11:41 AM

      Also don't lick subway poles and don't rawdog strangers.

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        April 10, 2023 11:50 AM

        What about licking strangers and rawdogging subway poles?

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          April 10, 2023 2:16 PM

          I'm not asking you to forgo necessities.

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      April 10, 2023 12:39 PM

      My company has this thing they do where they send us little online courses to take to train folks on what to look for in suspicious emails, red flags for malware, etc.

      The online courses refer to the phenomenon in this article as "Juice Jacking". Not even kidding. Not sure if they came up with that name themselves or not. It's somewhere between clever way to get people to remember it and cringey "the kids are listening to the rock music" shenanigans.

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