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USB cables are far more complicated than they may seem. We use these cables now mainly for charging our mobile devices and see any available USB port as a charger. We need to be more careful of this approach! There are two important issues that you need to be aware of when using USB cables.

  1. Using the wrong cable to connect your mobile device to a USB port may damage the device you're plugging into.

  2. If you do not own the device that has the USB port on it do you know that this device is not reading your data or writing a virus to your mobile device?

The Wrong Cable

What You Need To Know

There are documented cases of USB cables causing damage to laptops when mobile devices are plugged into them for charging. Specifically the new USB-C cables are more likely to cause issue.

Not only could a bad cable lead to damage of a computer it could also cause excessive heat and possibly even start a fire!

What To Do

  1. Where possible use the USB cable and charger supplied with your mobile device.

  2. When purchasing additional chargers or cables get these from your device manufacturer.

  3. When purchasing additional chargers or cables from any source research first.

  4. Be very wary of cables that are very cheap.

  5. Where possible only charge your device from dedicated chargers.

  6. Avoid using USB ports on computers and computer displays unless you are transferring data. Even when transferring data you must be sure of the quality of your USB cable.

  7. If you are not 100% confident in your USB cable do not plug it in to a computer or display, either at home or at work.

  8. Do not use a USB cable that is damaged.

  9. Do not plug a USB cable into a device that is damaged.

  10. Be careful of where you charge your mobile device. Charging causes heat, faulty devices or cables could lead to fire.

The above are all the sort of information that is printed in the "safety manual" provided with new mobile devices but in all honesty, how often do we follow these instructions?

Links To Related Web Atricles

The Verge Feb 4th 2016 - http://www.theverge.com/2016/2/4/10916264/usb-c-russian-roulette-power-cords

Charging From Unknown Sockets

What You Need To Know

There are documented cases of unscrupulous people setting up "Charging stations" that actually attempt to take data from any devices plugged in to charge.

What To Do

  1. Only charge your devices from your own power supply.

  2. Encrypt your mobile device and do not unlock it when charging.

  3. Do not treat all USB sockets as power outlets, expect them to be linked to a data collecting device.