In the IT way of life, young technocrats are willingly to connect themselves with the digital world at all possible times. Nowadays, internet connections are worth more than anything. In this direction, people are excited to be connected with free Wi-Fi network available in places of airports, cafeteria and more. But they usually forget the security concerns in this sprint.
During the U.S. Republican National Convention, over 1200 people were connected to free Wi-Fi connections with the name of “I Vote Trump! Free Internet” and “I Vote Hillary! Free Internet.” They transferred mammoth data in doing things like chatting, checking e-mails. Those connections were fake and were set up to highlight the insecurity of most public Wi-Fi networks. It was found that over 68% of those using these fake networks directly or indirectly exposed their identities in some way.
As per the recent survey, over half of respondents replied that they had logged into their social media accounts or personal emails from a public network. Even some 61% believed that their information was secure on a public Wi-Fi network. Only 42% of respondents knew how to tell whether a WiFi connection was safe. Around 95% of millennial had shared information while using public WiFi, so millennial were the most trusting group on public WiFi according to the recent survey.
Wi-Fi hackers and attackers love to hit where there is a crowd. For example, the launching of fake WiFi spots in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 during the Olympic Games where hackers took advantage of the crowds and unsuspecting users stole a lot of data. What type of data have they stolen? No one seems to know, but it was about passwords, credit card numbers and other private details that attackers later used to commit identity theft and other fraud. These thefts occurred in patches rather than a tsunami.
Generally, public WiFi networks are inherently unsafe. Recently, it has been observed that 25% of targeted public hotspots don’t use any coding or encryptions at all thereby means that anyone (including hackers) can pick up the communications with an antenna and you can’t even trace them. Hacking WiFi connections don’t need complex technical knowledge. Some of the hacking tools are widely available in the market and easy to use them to decrypt the code.
Hackers are not only establishing their fake WiFi spots but in some instances, they may hack the existing legal networks. For example, a white-hat hacker displayed how he could take benefits of vulnerabilities present in the existing network routers to hijack the free public WiFi network.
Common Techniques Employed by Hackers
- Fake Hotspots
Hackers set up a fake hotspot with an innocent name that coaxes the consumers into believing that it is legitimate like “Starbucks WiFi” in a coffee shop. They can then store all the crucial information of the connected people.
By using a WiFi sniffer, anyone can visit unsafe and open WiFi networks (especially public WiFi) and keep eyes on their traffic. They can record that traffic and evaluate it to search beneficial information.
While using public WiFi, attackers can deliver you fake warnings, and notices like ‘you are required to install an update.’ But instead of updating, it offers them complete access to your system including the personal files. They can control your system, and even they can turn on the web camera or microphone.
Alexa Thomson is an accountancy expert who has worked with leading accountancy software companies. Owing to her expertise in finance, accountancy, and technology, her blogs have been published in leading magazines and platforms. Her favorite accounting software writings come for Sage support.