Hyderabad: As the number of public places offering Wi-Fi connectivity, free and paid, is going up, the number of dangers lurking around such Wi-Fi hotspots too is going up. Free Wi-Fi hotspots, according to Cybercrime officials, have made the work of cyber crooks easier, with cases of loss of personal data increasing by the day.
After using conventional methods to hack into those using public Wi-Fi hotspots, the fraudsters are now resorting to what is known as the use of the ‘Evil Twin’, to gain access to personal information on mobile phones and laptops.The Evil Twin is nothing but a fraudulent Wi-Fi access point that has a similar name or appears to be a legitimate Wi-Fi network. Once an unsuspecting user connects to this point, the hacker can steal passwords and data.
The Evil Twin is the wireless LAN equivalent of the phishing method used by fraudsters who use fake bank pages, similar to original ones, to trap people engaged in Internet banking. Superintendent of Police (Cyber Crime), CID, U Ram Mohan said the method was very much in use, with Internet users falling prey to hackers despite it being known that free Wi-Fi hotspots should be used with lots of precaution. “People who recently visited foreign countries have started complaining about losing personal information after accessing free Wi-Fi hotspots.
There were cases in which the victims lost their bank balance through phishing attacks after losing personal information,” he said.Incidentally, a senior police official too was not spared. A CID officer found after a visit to a foreign country that a hacker had accessed personal information of his relatives through his email.“I had used free Wi-Fi hotspot at an airport. Maybe, it was then that the hacker got into my mail account and got access to my personal contacts.
When I missed my flight due to some reasons, and my phone got turned off due to low battery, my relatives received emails saying I was in a crisis and required money. They were given bank accounts to which they had to send the money,” he said.“People before using free Wi-Fi hotspots must ensure that they log in to a secured network and this can be done by consulting the network provider or by verifying the credentials of the provider,” officials said.