It's a portable power worst-case scenario: you're stranded somewhere with a dying mobile device, and the only option to power up is through plugging into a public USB port.
Do you do it?
If you said no, good job. If you said yes...well, there's no time like the present to start being more cautious. Data theft is one of those crimes that never really goes away, thieves just find ways to advance with technology. Think about the kinds of information you access through your phone. Banking apps? Email? Even the most innocent-sounding apps can be outlets for thieves. I use the Starbucks Rewards app, for example, and it's tied to my PayPal account for reloading (I thought it would be safer than connecting a debit or credit card). One day, I got a notification that $100 had been transferred from PayPal to my Starbucks account. Upon logging into the app, someone had gotten ahold of my account, uploaded a new card, transferred the $100 to it, and removed it. All within a space of 5 minutes from when I first received the PayPal notification.
In that example, there might have been a breach issue with the app, but theft can occur in other ways as well. Plugging your device into a public USB outlet is one such way as they become more common. Planes, trains, airports, and other places are starting to integrate these ports as a service to customers. But thieves are also using them as well.
So what can you do when you need portable power but don't want to put your data at risk?
Portable Power Options
The best option is the power bank. Power banks are basically chargeable external batteries that can charge up anything that uses a USB cable. They're completely secure since they don't require or have the capability to affect data. Plug it in, charge it up, and unplug. Done and done at no risk.
Power banks also offer a wide variety of customization. And like any charger, the speed at which they charge will vary according to device and cable. However, the protection from viruses and hacking is the biggest advantage. But it's not the only option.
The PortaPow Charge Block Adapter
When there aren't many other options (or if you're prone to forgetting to charge things), the PortaPow is a good investment. It physically blocks 'data transfer' mode, removing any risk of hacking/viruses when charging from a public USB socket. This portable power method is compatible with all operating systems (Apple and Android), so no worries if you're traveling with your iPad and Samsung Galaxy.
Power Banks, PortaPow, Portable Power...
We can't tell you which one is the best investment, but we're slightly in favor of the power banks. You don't need an outlet or USB socket to use them, they're compatible with anything that charges through a USB, and--depending on what you're willing to spend--they're solid performers in terms of speed and durability.
How do you handle emergency charging situations?