Common Myths about Mobile Charging

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Myth 1: I never use a public charging station, so I’m safe from Juice-Jacking

 

Some of the smartest people we know believe this to be true.  Did you know that mobile device operating systems are now targeted more often than desktop operating systems?  Full-time cybercriminals have a variety of ways, some sophisticated – some not, to infect your mobile device.  One method is to infect desktop operating systems through phishing, bots, spyware, or trojans, then infect the mobile device when connected to the desktop/laptop USB port.  Why?  Well, there are a couple of really good reasons why mobile devices are better targets than desktops:

  1. They are connected through a wireless network all the time.  This makes it easy for cybercriminals to stay in touch with their victims.
  2. With a mobile device, you have a moving time bomb that can spread infections much better than a desktop.  Every time a mobile device connects to another computer (personal, corporate, government, etc.), it can infect those devices as well, allowing the infection to propogate at incredible speeds.

See our article, “SPECIAL ALERT: SmartPhones Twice as Dangerous as USB Flash Drives” for some fascinating statistics on mobile security and how cybercriminals use smartphones to spread their diseases into corporate enterprises at truly alarming rates.

Or, if you need a little humor to brighten your day, check out our cartoon that shows a real-life example of how the US government used Juice-Jacking methods to weak havoc on Iranian nuclear capabilities.

Myth 2: It will fry my phone

Many people are concerned that a charger that provides too much amperage will fry their phones or tablets. This just isn’t true.

Electrical engineers understand that amperage is a “pull” function. A wall charger does not “push” power to your device. Rather, it is the mobile device that is “pulling” the amperage it needs – or as much as it can get from the charging device. If you ever wired a house or looked inside your fuse box, you will see this principle in action. You have 15 Amp fuses with equipment, lights, and plugs that draw much less than that, but everything works just fine. Same principle here. You can use a 2.4A power supply on a device that only draws 500mA and you will never have a problem.

So, it is just isn’t possible to “fry” your mobile device because of too much amperage drawn.

Another analogy to consider with the home wiring is when lightning destroys electronic equipment. That is caused by a sudden surge of voltage. Power (Watts) = Voltage x Current (Amps). Amperage is not the factor in the equation that creates the overpower condition during lightning events. Rather it is the sudden over-voltage.

So, having a stable power supply is incredibly important. We have purchased and tested a huge number of chargers. Some of the chargers out there provide very erratic voltages. If your mobile device does get fried – or the battery wears out quicker than it should – consider purchasing a new charger. We tested and selected a number of mobile-charging devices that you can purchase at our Amazon store.

Myth 3: It will fry my USB port

Theoretically, if you have a mobile device that is drawing 1Amp and a USB port that can only supply 500mA, yes, the port could get fried, although unlikely since most ports have overcharge protection built-in to the circuitry. The failure typically would occur in the transformer as it becomes too hot and This is particularly concerning when dealing with computer USB ports. Many competitor products to the Juice Jack Defender® claim that their products were designed to support laptop and computer USB charging standards and only charge at 500mA – half the amperage, half the charge speed.

This myth is “busted” if your computer is newer than 2007, when the Open Mobile Terminal Platform (OMTP) agreed on the micro-USB to be the standard for CHARGING MOBILE PHONES ON USING USB PORTS. Laptop and computer USB ports are designed to support mobile phone charging, which is typically between 500mA (0.5A) and 1A. Some of the newer laptops are even rated up to 2A, which can fully support tablet charging, which typically charge at 700mA to 1.5A.

Our Juice Jack Defender will work on all USB 2.0 and greater charging ports no matter when they were built.  USB1.0 ports are hard to find anymore, but you will find them occassionally on the tvs on the backs of airplane seats, and those are the only USB ports that we have found inadequate for use with the Juice_ Jack Defenders in all our travels.

In testing and in practice, we have not fried a computer USB port – ever. And, since manufacturers cannot guarantee that their products will always be used by consumers according to their specifications, most charging devices protect themselves with current regulators to ensure that devices never draw more current than the charging device is rated for. We have tested a variety of mobile devices on a variety of wall warts and computer USB ports. In fact, we tested for over 7 months before going to market with our invention. We have NEVER fried a port when using our Juice Jack Defender.

Myth 4: If I just cut the data lines, my phone will charge with no security risks

There are four circuits in a USB device. The two outside circuits carry 5 to 5.2VDC. The two inner circuits provide the data connectivity. Most people assume that in order to have a “charge-only” device, you simply open (cut) the data line circuits. And, that was how we first approached it. That, however, did not work on most mobile devices. Our testing of the first prototype worked on most Android devices, but did not work on any Apple, Microsoft, or BlackBerry devices.

So, for some smart mobile devices, yes, cutting the data lines will work. However, for most, that simply does not work. If it does work, it will default to the slower charge speed of 500mA.  Our Juice Jack Defender supports all smart mobile devices and ensures 100% protection from identity theft and malware at up to twice the speed of competitive products.

Smart Charging Rules of Thumb

  1. Do not charge high amperage devices like an iPad, Surface, or Android Tablet on computer USB ports.
  2. NEVER charge multiple devices from a single charge port.
  3. There is no need to use the Juice Jack Defender with a powered USB charger (a wall wart). The Juice Jack Defender was designed primarily as a cyber security device, and there is no data threat from wall warts.

Our literature clearly warns consumers to avoid these situations and assuming that risk is up to you.

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