Free “anything” is great, right? Wrong! Your computer probably holds most of your most private information and scammers want what you have. Many hotels, airports, and other public spaces offer free Wi-Fi, but unfortunately more and more scammers are trying to steal personal information by creating unsecured networks that consumers can connect to for free.
Although hackers can, and have, set up fake Wi-Fi connections in a number of venues, usually they will target consumers at airports or hotels. When searching for connections, consumers may see a network connection available that could be simply named “Free Wi-Fi.” Thinking it’s the free connection offered by the establishment, they’ll log on. Unfortunately, the network may actually be an “ad-hoc” network, or a peer-to-peer connection.
The user will be able to surf the Internet, but they’re doing it through the hacker’s computer. And the whole time, the hacker is stealing information like passwords, credit card and bank account numbers, and social security numbers. Beyond simply stealing keystroke information as the user enters various types of data, if the laptop is set to share files, the hacker could even steal whole documents from the computer.
BBB recommends the following tips when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks: