USB condom protects smartphone users from juice jacking

Sexual prowess isn’t something tech nerds are known for. Now they have a reason to stock up on condoms.

The USB condom is a new device that protects smartphone users from being “juice jacked.”

Juice jacking refers to the illegal downloading of data from a smartphone while it’s recharging at a free charging kiosk. These are usually available at airports or internet cafes and affect any type of smartphone whether it is an Android, iOS or any other software.

In an article about juice jacking at DefCon, an annual security conference, Brian Markus, the head of Aires Security, warned users about the dangers of the malpractice.

“Most smartphones are configured to just connect and dump off data,” Markus said. “Anyone who had an inclination to, could put a system inside of one of these kiosks that when someone connects their phone can suck down all of the photos and data, or write malware to the device.”

This is where the USB condom comes in to protect users from juice jacking. The actual product itself isn’t exactly what its name entails however. According to Ryan Whitwam from Extremetech.com, the condom is actually a circuit board that plugs into the smartphone’s USB port. While it’s plugged in, it effectively stops any data transfers.

It works by sitting between the smartphone and the charging station and controls which pins in the USB are actually connected to the charging port.

The USB consists of four pins: two for data, one for power and one for ground. Juice jacking utilizes the two data pins and bypass security on the smartphone to let it charge while secretly sucking data right out of the phone- all without a trace.

Several students at SHSU were completely unaware of juice jacking, or knew such a practice existed.

Senior students Justin Boehm and Jeff Litwak said that the USB condom was “a great idea,” after finding out about juice jacking.

Boehm said the USB condom will definitely be more commonplace when it becomes popular and that phone data is worth protecting.

“I think that once the word gets out about this it will be a big deal,” Boehm said. “Smartphones hold important data like computers too, like credit card info, so I definitely wouldn’t want that stolen.”

Litwak said that while it is a good idea, it isn’t practical as of now.

“It isn’t feasible,” Litwak said. “I don’t see or hear a lot about juice jacking, so I’m not sure if people will need it right away.”

For those wanting to purchase the extra layer of protection from the data suckers, the USB condom is currently on sale online for $10.

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