My phone is rooted and has USB debugging enabled because I do some development on it. In a moment of pre-caffeinated mental weakness, I plugged it into a cheap Chinese power bank. The phone promptly stopped responding to touch input until I hard-rebooted. This reminded me that malicious chargers are apparently a thing.

My google-fu hasn't shown any in the wild, I have no other symptoms, and Malwarebytes is giving me the all-clear... so I'm not particularly worried.

Generally speaking though, how would you go about detecting a malicious charger?

  • Charger can't be malicious. Powerbank maybe, but I don't see why it will broke your touchscreen. Maybe the problem is because it is as you say cheap chinesse powerbank. Sep 19, 2016 at 18:29
  • Malicious chargers have been implemented, and were demonstrated at BlackHat 2013. That's what the second link is about.
    – Autumn
    Sep 19, 2016 at 19:21
  • Honestly, this is likely just a very poor quality charger or a malfunctioning one. I have seen this behaviour with extremely "budget" chargers in the past, as soon as it connects to the device the touchscreen is seemingly "locked out"... It isn't a malicious charger, just a crappy one. The most recent one I have seen did this with any HTC or Samsung device connected to it, but Moto devices had no problem at all.
    – acejavelin
    Sep 19, 2016 at 22:09
  • Well then, maybe but just maybe you can rid of malware by formating all the partitions even sdcard from TWRP recovery, and then imstall custom ROM or stock. But as I said it's probably just crappy powerbank not malicious. Sep 19, 2016 at 23:59
  • If it's only affecting the touch screen but the Android system still works well, another possibility might be due to overcharging, which affects the digitizer, and observing multiple permanent ghost touches that will lock any more inputs from the touch screen... (I've experienced it many times)
    – Andrew T.
    Jan 16, 2021 at 6:31

2 Answers 2


Go to hak5.org and purchase their malicious cable detector. It costs $40-50. (I didn’t let the link connect so you can have the peace of mind that you are not unknowingly downloading malware by clicking a link on your mobile device).


You can't. The only real world way to detect if a charger is malicious is to plug it into a device that it could possibly infect. Yes, I'm sure with some forensics equipment you could technically check for this kind of thing, but it just isn't practical.

Instead, only charge your device with chargers you can trust. If you see a USB charging port, or any kind of device that is supposed to charge your phone and you aren't sure what the other side is connected to (such as in airports where there are USB ports) don't use it.

It's more of a game of paranoia than detection. I wish there was a better alternative as much as you do.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .