Free Wi-Fi or Trap?

by Scimson on January 26, 2014 - 2:07pm

Free wireless Wi-Fi networks are almost everywhere nowadays. It would appear banal to connect to a free and public network with a decent name, but it can bounce to something much less legitimate. These fake "hotspot" are frequent and will often prompt those who connect by requiring them to enter their username and password on an interface designed to replicate popular websites like Facebook. Obviously this interface does not log into the said website, but rather sends the credentials to the host for malicious usage. This is something the journalist Ian Steadman has experienced recently, as he said in his article "A reminder that public Wi-Fi hotspots may not always be what they seem", that he published on January 4th 2014. Fortunately for him, he was able to notice it was fake before giving his precious personal information. Some people would say it is banal if you are careful, but being on a public network gives access to anyone with the proper knowledge to view the content a person might be viewing.

Now, what can a person do to protect herself from such threat? Well, the easiest method would be to avoid free networks even though they are often very practical. But, if someone really needs to access the internet, then some precautions should be taken. The first and obvious would be to never use anything related to credit cards or banking while on public networks. Also, if possible, avoiding the use of websites that require login or if necessary make sure that it isn't a phishing scam before logging in.

Here is a link to Steadman's article:

http://www.newstatesman.com/future-proof/2014/01/reminder-public-wi-fi-hotspots-may-not-always-be-what-they-seem

Comments

I agree with what you wrote, I think people are less careful nowadays with personal information on phones and other electronic devices. Another thing that is dangerous or that people should be careful of is sharing Wi-Fi I have a co-worker that can share her Wi-Fi with her phone so that to could be a possible place where people could be robbed of personal information. I am not a very big technical guy, I use my phone to text and to call people when I need too and that’s pretty much it. The only time I used my internet on my phone was to check my bank account and the next day I found out that because of that my bank account was ``hacked`` and I was robbed, but I learnt my lesson and I never used my internet on my phone again, so I once I read your summary and article I related a lot to it.

I thought that your subject was unique and relevant. I’m actually really surprised with this article. I had already figured that connecting to a public Wi-Fi hotspot was not secure but to the point that people can really look up everything you are doing on your computer is a bit freaky (for lack of better word). This should really be more public knowledge because so many people don’t realize that anyone can’t get you banking information from a simple connection to a public hotspot. This article had me thinking that if a public network is so easily "hackable", home networks are probably pretty easy to get into too. Yet, instead of finding information on how secure home Wi-Fis are, I found may articles about how to break into someone else’s Wi-Fi. http://mods-n-hacks.wonderhowto.com/how-to/crack-wi-fi-passwords-for-beg...

Every time, I see free hot stop at restaurant or anywhere else I refuse to use it do to my personal data being taken. I feel more at ease using my phones internet threading for my laptop and table when away from home. Just make sure you have a unlimited internet plan when threading.

Free wifi is so common people connect to it where ever they are, then wonder how come they are victims of identity theft. If an individual like myself enjoys using a sufficient amount of internet functioning apps i would suggest getting a better cell phone plan that supply's enough internet coverage so free wifi isn't an option. This is not a full proof way to avoid identity theft but it slims down chances.Obviously not everyone has the finances to do that, and in that case limit the use of internet time.

I agree with the others free wi-fi is great for people who want to connect to the internet on the go but it has a lot of risks associated when so many people are sharing the same network. Unfortunately there are corrupt people out there in the world who try to get personal information for banks and what not to hack accounts and steal identities. This is why it's so important to be careful when choosing to use a free connection. It might be worth it to just spend the extra money on your phone bill then to risk losing tons of money in your banking account. Also free fi-wi places often take forever to load websites and what not anyway so it's not that helpful if you don't have a few minutes to wait for the browser to load up for you to use.