Android 15 is adding a defense system against sneaky attacks at charging stations

Android logo on a phone with a padlock in the background
(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google is adding a feature in Android 15 to block shady data transfers at public charging stations known as "juice jacking."
  • Juice jacking uses USB charging ports to install malware, run unauthorized commands, or steal data.
  • Android 15's Lockdown mode will completely disable USB data transfer while still allowing charging.

Google is adding a new feature to Android 15 that works to block shady data transfers at public charging stations.

Android sleuth Mishaal Rahman, writing for Android Authority, has found a new security feature for Lockdown mode in the latest Android 15 beta. This feature protects your device from a sneaky hacker tactic called "juice jacking," which takes advantage of USB charging cables to sneak in malware, run unauthorized commands, install unwanted apps, or mess with your data.

Juice jacking is a hidden risk that came to life due to the widespread availability of USB charging ports. This cyberattack exploits the phone's single port for power and data transfer. Using a compromised public station can open the door for hackers to install malware, steal personal data, or take full control of your phone.

While Rahman recognizes the risks of juice jacking, he also points out the current security measures that help mitigate these threats. For instance, Android's default settings already block USB Debugging until the device is unlocked. Plus, accessing device files requires switching to file transfer mode. These built-in safeguards create a strong defense against unauthorized ADB commands or attempts to access your files.

However, Rahman admits that a perfectly executed juice jacking attack could seriously compromise your device. To combat this, Android 15 is introducing a significant upgrade to Lockdown mode. This new feature completely disables USB data transfer while still allowing charging. This means you can charge your phone at public stations without worrying about your data being at risk.

To enable this protection, just hold down the power button and select "Lockdown" from the Power menu (if your settings allow it). One tap activates a digital shield around your data.

Rahman tested the feature on a Pixel 6 Pro and another device running Android 14. The verdict was clear: Android 15 cuts off all USB data transfers when Lockdown is activated.

Pixel users with compatible models can look forward to this feature with the official Android 15 update. Users of other Android phones might have to wait a bit longer, as it will be up to individual manufacturers to update their USB Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) to support the new Lockdown mode APIs.

Even though the odds of a juice-jacking attack are slim, Android 15's upgraded Lockdown mode provides an extra layer of security for cautious users. Public charging worries can be a thing of the past.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.