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Next time your phone is low on juice, you might want to think twice about plugging into a public charging station. 

The FBI tweeted on April 6 and posted to the FBI website to “avoid using free charging stations in airports, hotels or shopping centers.” Individuals have found ways to “introduce malware and monitoring software onto devices that access these ports.” The bureau suggests bringing your own USB cord and chargers to plug into electrical outlets. 

Public charging stations are commonly found in airports, hotels and shopping centers. At Las Positas, there are free stations in the library, tutorial center, student life office and dream center. 

The Federal Communication Commission warns of “juice jacking”.The FCC website says malware installed through a compromised USB port can lock a device or export personal data and passwords directly to the perpetrator. Criminals can use that information to access online accounts or sell it to other bad actors. Though Las Positas is a public campus, campus librarians say there is no need for concern. 

Las Positas librarian Charlotte Bagley said “even though Las Positas is a public college, the library is not as public as an urban campus, airport or other places and the library is attended whenever it is open, so it may be hard to install the malware.”

Juice jackings are not new, it was first warned about in the Black Hat Cybersecurity conference in 2013 and Jackie Lacey, former District Attorney of Los Angeles issued a similar warning in 2019.

Alan Lewis is a staff writer for the Express. Follow him @ormond1912

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