Technology

Are hackers using hotel Wi-Fi to steal your data?

Ok, we’re probably not the best people to hear this from, given we’re the type to stick masking tape over our laptop cameras in fear someone is watching.

But we’ll do it anyway.

A new report led by the US Today Show has looked into hotel Wi-Fis to find out whether hackers are generating their own fake Wi-Fi’s to steal patron’s data.

The results are a little concerning.

The journalist covering the report sat down on a pool lounge chair at a hotel in Mexico and created a fake Wi-Fi hotspot to lure in internet-thirsty holidaymakers.

As users began logging in, the journalist and his security expert were able to see the users’ photos, bank information, and recent purchases.

The journo then found each user and warned them of how easily their information was accessible to the public.

According to News.com, the journo and his security expert then began offering tips on how to stay safe online while holidaying.

The best way to do so?

Logoff public Wi-Fi when making online purchases on your phone.

As well as this, they urged phone users to click ‘Forget this network’ when coming and going from different destinations, to avoid auto-logging on.

Users can also test Wi-Fi which claims to be set up by your hotel by entering a fake hotel room number to see if the connection works.

If it’s real, you won’t be able to get in.

If it’s fake, you will, as it won’t be able to detect a nonexistent room number.

Travel Weekly looked into the issue of being hacked on holidays in July of last year thanks to a report about Wi-Fi risks.

According to a Wi-Fi Risk Report done by Norton by Symantec, 66 per cent of Aussies are acting unsafely when connecting to public Wi-Fi – and most of them believe their private info is safe.

Unfortunately, this is rarely the case – over half of Aussies aren’t using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when connecting to public Wi-Fi, putting them at even further risk. A VPN provides a secure tunnel, encrypting and protecting data sent and received between your phone and the Internet.

Confused? You aren’t alone: many users have no idea whether they’re using a secure public Wi-Fi network or not.

“There is a deep divide between what people think is safe when it comes to using public Wi-Fi versus the reality,” said Mark Gorrie, Director of ANZ Norton Business Unit.

“WHAT SOMEONE THINKS IS PRIVATE ON THEIR PERSONAL DEVICE CAN EASILY BE ACCESSED BY CYBERCRIMINALS THROUGH UNSECURED WI-FI NETWORKS OR EVEN APPS WITH PRIVACY VULNERABILITIES.”

According to the report, 83 per cent of Aussies have used a public Wi-Fi network to log into personal email accounts, check bank balances and share photos and videos – all very private information that cybercriminals can easily access.

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