Stealing Data Over Open WiFi

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by Brian Brushwood & Jason Murphy

We’ve already shown you a few different ways the digital world is horrifyingly unsafe. Well, we’re doing that again, because not only is it important for you to be armed with the information that will help keep your data safe, but we absolutely love watching the look of genuine panic on Jason’s face when he sees this stuff.

We’re joined by Shannon Morse of Hak5, who introduces us to the WiFi Pineapple, which can basically masquerade itself as a WiFi network that you and your device think you recognize. See, your cell phone and laptop and other devices are constantly looking for available places to connect, so it sends out signals asking, “Hey, is this network available?” The WiFi Pineapple picks up those requests, then allows a potential attacker to see them, change its own SSID to one of the names your device is looking for and allows you to connect. When you do, you still get to view hilarious cat videos, but all of your activity is being recorded because it’s all running through their access point. It’s called a “Man-in-the-middle” attack.

Fortunately, there are some very simple things you can do to help protect yourself, and we discuss some of them here. Perhaps the most important, however, is not to connect to a WiFi network you don’t specifically know and trust. Seriously, if the hotel you’re staying at offers complimentary WiFi and the information they give you says it’s the “HotelGuest” network, don’t opt for the “HotelGuestSuperSpeedThisIsReal” one.

 
 
 
 

Like this video? Check out “Weird Ways Crime Is About To Get Creepier” and “5 Ridiculous Cybercrimes You’ll Be Amazed Were Pulled Off”.

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