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November 21, 2019

20th Judicial District
District Attorney Michael Dougherty

Community Protection Division: 303-441-3700

Consumer Advisory

(Boulder County, Colo.) -- District Attorney Michael Dougherty advises those traveling during this holiday season to use caution with regard to USB charging stations provided at many airports, hotels and other public locations. In the USB charging scam known as “juice jacking,” hackers can modify charging stations in train and bus stations, on trains, and in airports and other public places like hotels and shopping malls. The hackers replace USB ports and cables at the charging stations with similar connectors loaded with malware. When an unsuspecting traveler uses the corrupted connectors, the hacker has a way into the user's device, and can lock it, export private information like account numbers, passwords and addresses, or even transmit a full backup of data from the user's device.

The Community Protection Division of the District Attorney's office (CPD) advises community members to bring chargers, cords and cables from home when traveling this holiday season, and to plug these into a wall electrical outlet rather than into a public USB charging station. Travelers could also consider bringing along a portable power charger if they need to recharge their devices while on the road. In addition, the CPD advises travelers to avoid using tech accessories (such as charging cords) that appear to have been left behind by others in public locations, as these might contain a chip that deploys malware once they are used to connect to a user's device.

Contact the the CPD with questions or to report a scam at (303) 441-3700.