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Hackers hijacking free Wi-Fi, especially at airports
From: Audrey McNeil <audrey () riskbasedsecurity com>
Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2013 22:50:22 -0700


Everywhere you look these days, you see people using their electronic
gadgets: smartphones, tablets, gaming systems and e-readers. Most of these
gadgets require Wi-Fi to access the Internet or the gadget itself is a
Wi-Fi hotspot. Many airports and other public spaces offer Wi-Fi for the
public to log onto the Internet from their laptop computers.

“Hackers are now taking advantage of travelers who want to stay connected,”
said BBB President Tom Bartholomy. “They are setting up fake Wi-Fi
connections designed to steal your personal information without you even
knowing it.”

How it works:

Although hackers have set up fake Wi-Fi connections in many locations,
airports are a favorite hot spot. When searching for connections, consumers
may see a network connection available that could be simply named “Free

Unfortunately, the network may actually be an ad-hoc network, or a
peer-to-peer connection. The user will be able to surf the Internet, but
they are doing it through the hacker’s computer.

“While the user is online, the hacker is stealing information like
passwords, credit card and bank account numbers, and social security
numbers from the user’s laptop computers,” said Bartholomy. “Airports
across the nation continue to report Wi-Fi security issues.”

The BBB offers the following advice for travelers using Wi-Fi Hot Spots:

• Connect securely. Never connect to an unfamiliar wireless network — even
if the name sounds genuine. A hacker can change the name of his network to
anything he wants, including the name of the legitimate Internet connection
offered by the airport.

• Disable automatic connections. Make sure that your computer is not set up
to automatically connect to any wireless networks within your range.
Otherwise, your computer could automatically connect to the hacker’s
network without your knowledge.

• Turn off file sharing when you are on the road to prevent hackers from
stealing sensitive data from your computer.•Turn off the Wi-Fi hotspot on
your device so others cannot sign onto your network.

• Create a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN establishes a private
network across the public network which prevents a hacker from intercepting
your data. If your mobile device has a Wi-Fi hotspot feature, you
definitely need a VPN to prevent other people from accessing the Internet
via your mobile device.
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