Summer is the peak travel season and travelers are flooding airports, train stations and hotels. Nearly all public locations offer WIFI now, but can you trust it? Experts are issuing a warning to be alert and careful when logging into the free accessible WIFI networks.
In a recent study, despite the security risks, in general, most people feel if the WIFI is available and free, they will use it. It is reported that 81 percent of respondents in America turn to public Wi-Fi either regularly or on occasion.
Cyber crooks are hoping that you cannot live without WIFI. It offers them the back door to your hackable personal data. With small simple devices, crooks can now easily have access to your personal information, credit cards and travel loyalty programs.
Charles Henderson, IBM X-Force Red Cyber Security Pro feels the accessible online world we live in can be a very temping trap. “It is very difficult to know if public WIFI is legit and a criminal can set up a fake public WIFI with a device very easily.”
When attempting to log in, it may say airport, hotel or coffee shop WIFI, but with one selection, the connection can give hackers access to everyone on your phone.
Even if you stay off of WIFI, experts say you can still be at risk. Hackers are now targeting public USB charging stations with viruses that can easily steal your computer and phone data.
“It’s not just WIFI. Criminals can use a simple device to intercept all blu-tooth communications. Watch, phones, everything,” said Henderson.
There is a new tool that hackers are now using called a Stingray that literally hijacks users cell signal. The device when in active mode, mimics a wireless carrier cell tower in order to force all nearby mobile phones and other cellular data devices to connect to it.
Experts believe personal data has never been more at risk and they recommend the following-
-Stay off networks you do not know.
-If you chose to log in to public WIFI, look at the location posting that details the exact name of the network or ask an employee for the name of the WIFI offered.
-Avoid public charging stations and carry your personal battery charging device with you.
-Rip up used plane and baggage tickets.
-Make sure your security software is up-to-date.
-Keep your software up-to-date.
-Create strong passwords.
-Be careful of what you install.
-Sign up for account alerts.
-Don’t leave online services unlocked.