Friend Or Foe: The Dangers Of Free Wi-Fi [Infographic]

Is there anything better than the free delights that come with a free Wifi connection? You choose the coffee shop you frequent based on this alone, well, at least I have in the past. In fact, I have chosen restaurants, bars and a number of other establishments based on this factor. One of the things I am aware of is that hackers and criminals trying to get my personal data. From having my own community and from working on Bit Rebels, I have seen first hand the kind of dangers that are out there, but even some of the ways hackers are able to steal our personal information surprised me in this infographic.

When I am sitting in a coffee shop, most of my concerns are ‘did I order low fat or not’ or ‘maybe I shouldn’t have gone for the double frappichino with an extra espresso shot at 11oclock at night.’ That was until now! Have you heard of SNIFFING? No, it’s not the flu or hay fever symptoms. Apparently it is a malicious actor using readily available software to intercept data being sent from you, or to you, on your device. The person doesn’t even need to be sitting inside the coffee shop to do this. As long as the person is in the wi-fi range, he or she can do to this and access everything including banking or online shopping account details. Cheque please!

Once when I went to the bar or bathroom, I had a friend use my phone to access my Facebook account and make a joke Facebook status on my behalf. It was funny, although I did have to explain a few things to my parents! But SIDEJACKING is an attack by someone sniffing data packets to steal cookies and highjack a user’s session. These cookies can contain unencrypted login information, even if the site is secure. If you are on Facebook and suddenly notice your status being updated then you have been sidejacked!

The one that freaked me out the most was the EVIL TWIN or HONEYPOT attack. This involves you accessing the best free wi-fi account due to its signal strength and believing it is a secure and safe network. Unfortunately, you could have joined a rogue network, which is often referred to as a man-in-the-middle attack, and it intercepts all of the data between you and your network. Once connected, the hacker can steal all your sensitive data. So remember when you are out to be very careful when logging onto a free wi-fi network. There is some good advice in this infographic for you. [Infographic created by Column Five for Veracode]

Click Infographic To Enlarge