An interesting read from Maurits Martijn as a test from an Internet Cafe in Amsterdam reveals just how easy it is for a hacker to exploit you and ruin your life if they want! “We took a hacker to a café and, in 20 minutes, he knew where everyone else was born, what schools they attended, and the last five things they googled.”
The author shares the experience of hanging out with an “Ethical Hacker” in an Internet cafe to see how simple one can fool the masses and exploit the affinity for free, open WiFi. In the test, the hacker removes his laptop from his backpack, puts the black device on the table, and hides it under a menu. A waitress passes by and we ask for two coffees and the password for the WiFi network. Meanwhile, the companion switches on his laptop and device, launches some programs, and soon the screen starts to fill with green text lines. It gradually becomes clear that Wouter’s device is connecting to the laptops, smartphones, and tablets of cafe visitors.
From the article…
Everything, with very few exceptions, can be cracked.
The idea that public WiFi networks are not secure is not exactly news. It is, however, news that can’t be repeated often enough. There are currently more than 1.43 billion smartphone users worldwide and more than 150 million smartphone owners in the U.S. More than 92 million American adults own a tablet and more than 155 million own a laptop. Each year the worldwide demand for more laptops and tablets increases. In 2013, an estimated 206 million tablets and 180 million laptops were sold worldwide. Probably everyone with a portable device has once been connected to a public WiFi network: while having a coffee, on the train, or at a hotel.
Note: the article does a fine job at identifying the risks associated with sharing and using open WiFi, however, where the feature misses, unfortunately, is by providing some suggestions on how to surf and use open WiFi safely.. any suggestions?