Security is a perennial concern, with the explosion in the use of mobile devices adding further to corporate communications worries. But if you thought you had that one nailed down, think again. According to blog on the site run by security firm Sophos users could be putting their mobile devices and their data at risk every time they charge up their batteries.

The problem, it appears, stems from the growing popularity of USB as a means of charging smartphones and other mobile devices.

On the plus side, USB means you can charge a mobile from your PC or notebook, added to which you don't need lots of different adapters for each make or model. The flipside is that USB connectivity also allows for data to be transferred, so plug your phone into a  hotel PC or one of those airport charging points, for example, and you're potentially open to losing data.

Referred to as "juicejacking" there haven't been reports of any actual data losses as yet, but it does seem feasible. Moreover, having been alerted to this potential vulnerability it's unlikely to be long before would-be hackers come up with something to exploit it.

So, how do you protect yourself? The Sophos blog talks about charge-only USB cables, which don't have the data wires connected, although it seems these can slow down the charging process as the device can't then negotiate the optimum rate with the host system.


Password protection of the data syncing process is another option, but making sure you only ever charge your mobile at home or using a PC or adapter you can trust would seem the simplest precaution.

This article is written by Alan Stevens and sponsored by Avaya. The opinions reflected in this piece are solely those of Alan Stevens and may not reflect those of Avaya management