The Hacker News

How often do you turn off the WiFi setting on your smartphone? Is your find open hotspot feature turned on all the time? The Hacker News put a notorious hacker at work, to demonstrate just how easy it is to steal people’s personal information. The hack goes like this: someone creates an EvilAP (or malicious access point) which serves as a hotspot for your phone. The access point is picked up by your smartphone–believing that it is an open network–and connects automatically to that hotspot. Once connected, the hacker can use one of a myriad of hacking programs to download your information, including passwords to your most visited sites, bank account information, credit card information, personal information (address, telephone number, social security number, etc.) and more. With this information on hand, who’s to say what it will be used for or how many people will have access to it?

How does someone protect themselves against this possibility? Well, for starters, you should understand that you really can’t protect yourself from every possible intrusion scenario, but you can make it harder for a hacker to steal your information. Among the things you can do is disable your ‘hotspot’ finder from your smartphone and further disable the WiFi service when you’re at home, the office, or when it’s not in use. When at work, it would be better to secure your network access by getting onto your job’s secure network, but keep in mind that even that network can be susceptible to a breach. Be sure to change your passwords often and make them lengthy to make it more difficult for someone to decipher. Another (and very important) suggestion is to stay away from ‘open networks’ such as the type you’d find at coffee shops, shopping malls, and the like. These open networks are invitations to have your information stolen as you’re already sharing the network with total strangers. So what’s to prevent a hacker from running a program that downloads your and others’ information?

In our interconnected society, it is very important to remain vigilant of the opportunities that exist to steal valuable information, and correspondingly, your identity. For a video showing the hacker at work and for more about this topic, visit Hacker Shows How Easy it is to Hack People While Walking Around in Public.

– Marianna
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