CHARGE IT

Public Charging Stations Could Give Your Phone Digital STDs

Some people might refer to them as viruses.
(flickr.com/istolethetv)

(flickr.com/istolethetv)

If you have a smartphone, chances are it’s usually dying. Thankfully, public charging stations are finally popping up all over the place–but you might want to think before using them, because they are coincidentally the perfect vehicle for viruses.

Hackers at a convention in Las Vegas last month showed that it’s possible to hack a phone through its charger, forcing the phone to make a call but also pointing out that hackers could use such technology to steal information.

The New York Daily News quotes a bunch of smarties who say they probably wouldn’t use a free charge station–but also admits that no hacks have been reported from the Street Charge docking stations AT&T is sponsoring around New York City through September.

A technician who worked on the Street Charge project sounds pretty confident:

“For someone to get into the unit and replace the board is quite an elaborate process,” he says. “You would have to remove the top panel, and we’re talking hundreds of pounds of equipment. It would be hard to do without being noticed. If you really wanted to steal data from someone, there would be easier ways of doing it.”

Ugh, that does sound tough. Guess we’ll have to wait a little longer for someone to make a giant database of all of New York’s hacked sexts.

Follow Molly Mulshine on Twitter or via RSS. mmulshine@observer.com