Consumer Alert: Essentials you should have in your tech travel kit

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This consumer alert is all about something that happens to all of us. You’re at the airport; your phone is dying, and you discover you’ve forgotten your USB cable. The passenger beside you offers to let you borrow his. Should you accept?

According to a cybersecurity expert interviewed in Forbes, you should politely say “no, thank you.” There are some things in life you should never borrow. You should never borrow someone’s toothbrush. You certainly would never borrow someone’s undies. And you should never borrow someone’s USB cable.

It’s easy for hackers to modify charging cables to steal data. That generous passenger who offered to let you borrow his might not even be aware his cable is not what it appears to be. That’s why it’s important that your tech travel kit include your own USB cord and charger.

The FBI warns that another huge danger is that free charging station in the airport. Cyberthieves can use those to install malware on your device and steal your data. It’s called juice jacking. AT&T tech guru Jason Komenski has some advice.

“When you plug in that charger, if it doesn’t pop up and say ‘”‘do you want to connect to this device,’ first of all, don’t do it. Make the choice,” said Komenski. “If you want to connect, select okay, but if you’re in a public place in airport, I would highly advise against allowing that charger to connect to your device.”

He says another essential for your tech travel kit is a blue-tooth tracker like Apple AirTag or Tile for your luggage and your kids. According to PC Magazine, AirTag is the most user-friendly, but it can only be used with Apple devices.

Lastly, our tech guru recommends a water bottle that acts as a portable charger.  I found one at Walmart for less than $20.

Now when our tech guru suggested a charging water bottle is a tech essential, initially I thought, “That is so Gen-Z. I don’t need a charging water bottle.” But then I thought about it. I always carry coffee or water while in the airport. It makes sense for my portable charger, which is essential, to be part of my water bottle, which is equally essential.

Save travels!