USB ports on trains, planes and public computers might prove useful when your smartphone’s running low on juice, but they’re not necessarily safe.
Because they can transfer data, they can also transfer viruses attempting to seize control of your mobile devices.
To tackle the cyber-threat, manufacturers are now selling what they call “USB condoms”, which block the flow of data when your phone’s on charge.
Neil Brown, a British telecoms, tech and internet lawyer and privacy expert, first drew attention to the devices:
Quartz reported that Brown’s tweet has had a “noticeable increase” in sales for PortaPow, one of the firms which manufacture the devices.
Another firm, SyncStop, also sells the devices. On its site, it explains that the USB condoms blocks the data on any USB cable, allowing only power to flow:
“This minimises the opportunities to steal your data or install malware on your mobile device.”
The firm has sold the devices to Facebook, Morgan Stanley and KPMG, according to its website.