Can someone steal my information over WiFi?
It's that easy to spy on WiFi users
Many users are aware that public WiFi hotspots are not necessarily suitable for handling sensitive data, but the majority apparently do not adhere to it. According to a recent survey by the VPN provider NordVPN 79 percent of public WLAN users take considerable risks when choosing their WLAN connection.
Hackers provide insight
You choose a hotspot based on its WiFi quality, choose an appropriate name or simply choose a free variant. However, public places are an excellent camouflage for hackers who can easily set up malicious hotspots and steal people's personal information. Daniel Markuson, the expert for digital data security at NordVPN, has now succeeded in talking to hackers in anonymous online forums about the risks of unsecure public WiFi. The hackers gave concrete insights into their approach.
>>> Read: How to make your WiFi a lot faster
Simple software is sufficient for WLAN espionage
All hackers agreed on two common points that can make any public WiFi hotspot vulnerable. These are poor router configuration and the lack of a secure password.
With dozens or even thousands of people in a public place, a snoop is in the perfect position to go unnoticed for its prey. It doesn't take much to start the malicious process: Ordinarily, the attackers would be using fairly simple and easy-to-use software that is legally available. Call the hackers Wireshark and Aircrack-ng as good examples. They claim that it can take a few minutes to look at sensitive information sent from a device connected to an insecure Wi-Fi network.
Victim doesn't notice anything
The worst part of the attack is that the victim is unlikely to even realize that their device has been misused. If you're lucky, the snoop may just read the browsing activity. But in the worst case scenario, they could steal all sensitive information, including passwords and credit card details.
Types of hacking attacks on public WiFi
The anonymous hackers also explained to Daniel Markuson the most common types of cyber attacks that can be carried out on insecure public WiFi networks:
- Man-in-the-middle attacks. When a device connects to the Internet, the data is transferred from it to a specific service or website. An attacker can penetrate between the transmission and modify it. The information on the device is no longer private.
- Evil twin. This can happen when cyber criminals set up fake WiFi hotspots. When a device connects to a rogue access point controlled by a hacker, all communications fall into their hands.
- Malware injections. If the user connects to an unsecured network, malicious code can get into their device at any time. Once the malware infects the device, it can bring the system to a standstill and give the hackers complete freedom over the personal files.
- Sniffing / sniffing. With the help of special software, cyber criminals can see all the data moving through the network and access what the victim is doing online. You can view browsing history, capture credentials, and break into online accounts to steal sensitive information or even money.
According to Markuson, it is better not to use public WiFi and to use mobile data. However, if there is no other choice, extreme caution should be exercised not to disclose sensitive information.
>>> Read: How to protect yourself from "digital sunburn"
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