Public urged to stop banking on public WiFi

03 May

Our latest survey has revealed that over a quarter of people use public WiFi networks to access their bank accounts, leaving themselves vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

Unsurprisingly, 21% of our survey’s respondents had seen their bank account details stolen and a further 15% had been hacked when other sensitive information stolen was from them electronically.

“It has become very easy for hackers to access people’s computers and phones via unsecure public or venue WiFi networks. We are urging the public to stop using public WiFi to view their bank accounts and other sensitive information,” said David Sweet, our Technical Director.

“The staggering growth of public and venue WiFi networks has seen more and more people taking to places like coffee shops and hotel lobbies to access the Internet and, unfortunately, that’s where they are most vulnerable to cyber-attacks, especially if they are joining free open networks.”

Open or ‘public’ networks do not encrypt their traffic and, as such, the traffic can be viewed by anyone using that network. Secure networks, recognised by the lock symbol next to their name, are encrypted, meaning only those with access to the actual network can view traffic, providing more of a challenge for hackers and giving greater protection to users.

“Hackers have been known to create their own WiFi network, cleverly named after the place they are in, which people willingly join thinking it’s the venue’s genuine network. Hackers also use the ‘automatically join’ function on many devices to push users off genuine networks and onto their own,” explains David.

“Once in, the attacker can see all network traffic from emails and social media, to bank details and any secure web access, such as remote access to work servers. The attacker can seek to exploit your device to collect, modify or delete any data they want, as well as recording anything you input into the keyboard. They can literally watch you type in your passwords.”

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