Android 15 offers an important new security feature

Android 15 logo on a Google Pixel 8.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Google is introducing a security feature in Android 15 to guard against “juice jacking” attacks, as reported by Android Authority, The new feature is currently being tested in the Android 15 beta.

Wondering what a “juice jacking” attack is? It describes an event where a hacker secretly sends data payloads to your device, should it have the ability to both charge and transfer data over the same USB connection. This includes most modern smartphones, and examples of hardware used for juice jacking include mobile charging stations. Should the attack be successful, hackers could compromise the device, wreak havoc, and endanger your privacy.

To counter this in Android 15, you’ll be able to restrict USB access when in lockdown mode, while still being able to power your device using a USB cable. Currently, this is not possible. The feature will be found in the Power menu and can be activated after holding down the power button, should your phone be set up like this. From there, all it will need is a tap of the lockdown button and data will immediately be restricted. Interestingly, lockdown mode was introduced with Android 9 in 2018, but the optional feature only obscured notifications and turned off authentication except for your primary method, such as the PIN, password, or pattern.

If you’re reading this and getting worried, remember that juice jacking is very rare. The most prevalent scenario when it might occur is when using a public charging station in an airport or similar location. Despite the rarity, it is reassuring to see Google enhancing the security of its upcoming mobile operating system.

Google is expected to launch Android 15 to the public later this year. It should first appear on Google Pixel devices before expanding to other Android-based devices. The update offers several new features, including an all-new notification cooldown, partial screen sharing, and audio sharing. Android 15 also includes more straightforward Bluetooth controls, more reliable NFC, app archiving, and more.  Internally, Android 15 is called “Vanilla Ice Cream.”

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