By John Ensor •
Published: 22 Aug 2023 • 12:36
Credit: McLittle Stock/Shutterstock. com
How safe is it when charging a mobile phone or using Wi-fi while travelling abroad?
Many people are unaware of the hidden dangers lurking in seemingly innocent public Wi-Fi networks and charging stations. A Secure Team expert has issued a stark warning about the risks of digital traps, as reported by The Express.
Recently, the Secure Team, a group of cybersecurity professionals, highlighted the alarming rise of fraudulent Wi-Fi networks and so-called ‘juice jacking’ scams at various locations, including hotels and travel hubs.
A Secure Team expert said: ‘When staying at a hotel or using Wi-Fi at an airport or travel hub, be wary of fake networks. Hackers may be trying to use an ‘evil twin’ network to steal sensitive data, such as passwords or personal information.’
Unprotected Wi-Fi networks with seemingly harmless names like ‘free wifi’ or ‘guest wifi’ are often set up to deceive unwary travellers. By making it easy to log in, these fake networks attempt to lure users into revealing their sensitive information through methods such as credential testing.
‘Typically, “evil twin” Wi-Fi networks direct users to a login page resembling that of a trusted network and request an email address, name and password under the pretence of setting up a personal account.’
This crime capitalises on the fact that over half of all internet users repurpose existing passwords to access the network, as revealed by the UK Cyber Security Survey.
Once the criminals have obtained this sensitive information, they may try to access other accounts owned by the victim or even engage them in a fraudulent scheme.
The security specialist from Secure Team advised travellers to verify the authenticity of hotel Wi-Fi by speaking to a representative or receptionist. They should inquire about the exact name of the network and whether it’s protected by a password. The expert also mentioned that using VPN services can add an extra layer of encryption to the data.
If there is no alternative network or a way to confirm it, the Secure Team professional advised travellers to steer clear of ‘sensitive’ activities like online shopping and banking.
The expert also cautioned against the seemingly convenient charging ports found in hotels and travel hubs. These might appear beneficial, but they could be a trap known as ‘juice jacking.’ In this scam, hackers might infuse malware into public USB charging stations, enabling them to access and infect devices while they’re being charged.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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