It is no gain saying that accounts (bank, email, facebook, twitter, Instagram, etc) are being hacked into with the help of some software and apps on play store. The rate at which accounts are being hacked into shows that we are presently producing more hackers who are majorly amateurs. They are either practising the new hacking techniques learnt or perfecting it but, by and large most of us fall into this category of unethical practise.
I travelled to Osun State last weekend to attend to some pressing issues and while on the course of duty, I met with this young and vibrant Obafemi Awolowo University (O.A.U) student who has all the latest movies and songs downloaded on his device. Being a lover of good music, it did not take long before we started chatting and I could not resist asking him how much he spend monthly on data but I was shocked when he said he hacked into the school’s wifi with the use of an app. Just like him, most of us hack into public wifi in places like hotels, airports, bus stations, hospitals to mention but few, to enjoy free internet access without any knowledge of the risk involved. When connected to a public wifi which are often unsecured, you are indirectly compromising some of your vital information such as:
• Personal communications(Emails, Chats and Messages)
• Passwords and other sensitive information
• Login details for various websites such as banking websites
• Your location
• Files (documents/images) sent or received
• Websites you visits
• Whom you are communicating with
However, public wifi are said to be unsecured because they have unencrypted connections leaving users at great risk. Their hotpots are easy target for hackers and nefarious people trying to steal login passwords, credit cards information, and content of communications or other personal details amongst others
• Hackers/Snoops: Hackers or snoops can infiltrate unsecured Wi-Fi networks and use them to collect personal details or sensitive login information. Think hacking is hard? Think again. Hacking is easier and easier these days, with the help of tools like Packet Analyzers, Fing, Kali Linux etc
• Malware: Unsecured Wi-Fi networks can be used to inject malware into devices connected to the network. Malware is very dangerous, as it could give an attacker access to everything on your device. This includes files or photos, and can go as far as microphone activation for eavesdropping.
• Man-in-the-Middle Attacks: A man-in-the-middle attack occurs when a malicious actor intercepts communication between two people and inserts themselves into the conversation. The criminal can then access information being sent and intercept personal data – all without the senders or recipients knowing. This type of attack allows for eavesdropping, exploiting real-time transactions, conversations and data transfers allowing the hacker to steal personal information.
• Rogue Hotspots (Fake Networks): These are hotspots that are set up by criminals, using a name close to that of the actual, legitimate Wi-Fi hotspot. These hotspots are created to trick users into connecting, thinking they are using a legitimate network at a coffee shop, for example. When you connect to one of these networks you become vulnerable to hacking/snooping conducted by the owner of the fake network
In conclusion, connecting to public wifi often comes with devastating consequences for their users.