Data blockers ensure that no eavesdroppers access private information
Nowadays, personal and corporate information has become nomadic, traveling with individuals as they surf the Internet at home, at work, and on vacation. In a growing number of cases, they log into public Wi-Fi hotspots, connect, and voila, start transmitting data. One very big problem: such connections are often not secure -- unless you have a data blocker.
There is no doubt that individuals want to – and can -- stay connected at they roam. The number of public Wi-Fi hotspots is expected to grow four-fold from 2018 to 2023. Globally, 628 million public Wi-Fi hotspots will be up and running in 2023, an increase from 169 million hotspots in 2018. So, finding a place to log in is not a problem.
In fact, many people plug into public places, at hotels, airports, restaurants, and coffee shops. What they often do not realize is when their information runs on a public connection, it becomes open to intrusion.
Hackers Work Around the Clock
Make no mistake: the hackers are very busy. This year, they are expected to inflict $6 trillion in damages globally. To put that number into perspective, it represents the world’s third-largest economy, trailing the U.S., which is expected to generate $21.1 trillion, and China, with $14.1 trillion.
Consequently, criminals look for potential entryways 24/7, and frankly, they do not care what provides it. The smallest key fob or the most extensive police equipment is fine; they just want a path in, so they can wreak havoc. You do not want to inadvertently provide them with one.
Another reality is that individuals are responsible for ensuring that their system is secure. Not your Internet Service Provider, software company, or hardware supplier. They provide various tools that protect against certain types of attacks, but when a breach occurs, your data, and not theirs, is compromised.
The Value of a Virtual Private Network
To safeguard information, you must understand the potential risks and then take steps to close any potential entryways. If you work for a company and store corporate data on your mobile device, they may use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to protect information as it moves from point to point. Some VPNs even prevent users from connecting to shady websites that often use bait and switch technology to trick individuals into unintentionally downloading malicious content.
A good start, but VPNs are not a panacea. They do not protect data that sits in your system. So, if you’re going to use a public hotspot and a USB power charging station in a public area, beware.
Juice Jacking Gains Traction
A USB port is as good as any other gateway into your device. Even a process as innocuous as recharging your systems provides the bad guys with potential access to your data. Juice jacking allows them to gain passage into your devices without your knowledge or consent.
Recently, this threat has gained attention. In November 2019, the Los Angeles’ District Attorney’s Office issued a travel advisory about the possible dangers of using USB ports in public places because of the threat of juice jacking.
Hackers need more than an entryway to examine your data. Once in, they use malware to worm they way into different places, like the system operating systems, so they eventually gain access to all of your personal information.
Once the criminals have your personal data, they are able to access your accounts and open new fake ones in your name. In 2019, consumers lost $16.9 billion because of Identity Theft
USB Specifications Change Through the Years
A USB data blocker allows you to plug into Wi-Fi hotspots and USB charging ports safely. These solutions eliminate the risk of infecting your phone, laptop, or tablet with malware, and also prevent hackers from install and running malicious code on your system. The USB data blocker blocks data pins so no data flows from place to place. They prevent the malicious use and sometimes even any accidental exchange of data any time you connect your device to a public station or foreign computers via a USB cable.
However, remote devices come in many shapes and sizes. The USB standard has been in use since 1996. Through the years, four generations of USB specifications (USB 1x, USB 2.0, USB 3x and USB 4) were developed. They vary in features and speed. Most of them are incompatible with one another. So as a user, you need to understand which version your device supports. Nowadays, most devices work with USB 3.x but USB 4 product loom on the horizon.
Released in November 2008, the USB 3.0 specification features a SuperSpeed transfer mode operating at 5.0G bits per second.
In July 2013, USB 3.1 was ratified, and it included two variants. The first one preserved USB 3.0's SuperSpeed transfer mode and is labeled USB 3.1. The second, USB 3.2, included the SuperSpeed+ transfer mode, which doubled the maximum rate to10 Gbit/s. In September 2017, USB 3.2 emerged and added two SuperSpeed+ transfer modes, with data rates of 10 Gbit/s and 20 Gbit/s. They run over USB-C connectors, a new interface. In August 2018, the USB4 specification was released, and it features 40 Gbit/s throughput.
USB data blockers range in price. On the low end, they cost about $7, and the cost rises to hundreds of dollars for sophisticated systems.
Consumers rely on digital information for work and home. With so much sensitive data flying around in cyberspace, robust cybersecurity is an uncompromisable necessity in this day and age. A data blocker is a simple and often inexpensive way to protect one’s data from eavesdroppers.
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