Android users urged not to charge phones in public in case they get hacked

The Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) is advising the public to exercise caution when charging their smartphones in public after a Thai man’s Android phone was hacked at the weekend. The CIB believe hackers have found a way of altering charging cables to steal personal information from phone users.

Wisanusan Sam-pok revealed in a Facebook post on Sunday that 101,560 baht mysteriously disappeared from his bank account. Wisanusan said he did not use the phone other than to charge it in public.

He added he has two phones, an Android and iPhone. He mainly uses the iPhone for calls, messages, banking etc., and only uses his Android phone to play games.

Wisanusan said that he did not receive any scam calls, download any strange applications, or click on any suspicious website links, but the money still mysteriously disappeared from his bank account.

Widsanusawan got a notification from his bank about the transaction he did not make. On closer inspection of his phone, he noticed an unknown application on it, which he suspected to be the app the hacker used for data skimming.

Netizens commented on Widsanusawan’s post saying that the hacker might have used a charging port and cable to help with the data skimming.

CIB reported yesterday that hackers can use remote access points to control a skimming chip that is embedded in every type of charger port.

The chip can be used by hackers to skim personal information from smartphones, including passwords, financial data, and bank account numbers, or to infect them with malware.

The CIB warned people who need to charge their phones in public should be cautious when borrowing a stranger’s charger or connecting their charger to public charging ports.

Parinya Homanek, a member of the National Cybersecurity Committee, said that such hacking, mostly on Android phones, can happen after the victims visit malware-embedded commercial banners or downloaded applications outside official application stores.

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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