9 (Very) Risky Places to Charge Your Phone

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Everyone faces a moment when their phone battery dies and they need a quick charge, but charging your phone in certain spots can expose all your information to criminals who install hidden devices to steal your data.


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While airports are convenient spots to charge your phone with plenty of charging stations available, it’s wise to be cautious. These public stations can be hotspots for digital theft. 

Security experts suggest that attackers might target these areas to exploit hurried travelers. To avoid risks, always use your own charger and cable.

Coffee Shops

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Coffee shops, much like other public areas, can have USB ports compromised by criminals who install hidden devices to capture data. While you enjoy your coffee, your phone could be at risk of identity theft or even a malware infection, which could monitor your activities or use your data for fraudulent transactions. 

To safeguard your device, consider using a USB port protector, which prevents data from being transferred from your device to an unknown system.



Using a public charging station at a mall might seem harmless, but it can expose you to significant security risks. 

According to tech experts, these stations can access and transmit your personal information, such as contacts, emails, and passwords, and even upload malicious software to your device. Always opt for using your own charger or a portable battery instead.



Be cautious with USB ports integrated into devices like alarm clocks in hotels. Security professionals warn that these seemingly convenient ports can be tampered with by malicious actors. 

They might not only charge your device but could also steal your data or install malware without you realizing it. For a quick and safe charge, it’s best to use your own charging equipment.

Rental Cars


USB ports in rental cars offer convenience but come with security risks. Cybersecurity advisors recommend avoiding these public USB ports and instead using an adapter that connects to the car’s electrical outlet. 

  • Charging your phone in a car might not be ideal: While it generally won’t harm the battery, but using low-quality chargers or charging too often might reduce its lifespan. The most significant risk comes from overheating, particularly when a phone is left in direct sunlight on the dashboard. 

Train Stations


Be wary of using USB ports in train stations, as they might be compromised to steal data—a tactic known as “juice jacking.” Criminals may offer free charging ports to access your private information when you connect your device. 

A safer alternative is to use a standard 110-volt adapter or invest in a gadget that blocks data transfer while charging.


Illustration. Image credit: Shutterstock

While libraries are typically considered secure environments, caution is still necessary when using USB charging ports. The potential for unauthorized data transfer or harmful tampering, such as rooting the device, cannot be overlooked. 

As there’s no definitive way to confirm the integrity of public charging stations, it’s advisable to use your own power sources whenever possible.

Buses and Trains


It’s common for phones to run out of battery while traveling on a bus or train. However, resist the urge to use just any available USB port. These ports can do more than charge your device; they can also be gateways for data theft or malware infections. To protect your personal information, always use your own charger and avoid connecting to unknown USB ports during your commute.

Tourist Attractions


When your phone’s battery is low during vacation, it might be tempting to use a charging kiosk, but these public charging spots can endanger your phone’s security, potentially allowing hackers to access your device’s camera or microphone remotely.

Kate Smith, a self-proclaimed word nerd who relishes the power of language to inform, entertain, and inspire. Kate's passion for sharing knowledge and sparking meaningful conversations fuels her every word.