Not only is it unsafe to use public wifi in finance, but all other users’ private information is also affected and compromised.
Free public WiFi is now available in many places. Airports, hotels and coffee shops all offer free internet connection as an added benefit to customers when using their services. For many people, being able to connect to the Internet for free on the go seems ideal. This is especially useful for business travelers, where they can now access email to work or share documents online.
However, using public WiFi hotspots is much more risky than many internet users realize, and most of those risks are related to Man-in-the-middle Attacks.
Attack in between
A man-in-the-middle attack (MitM for short) occurs when a malicious actor intercepts communication between two parties. There are different types of MitM attacks, but one of the most common is intercepting a user’s request to visit a website and sending a reply with a legitimate-looking phishing site. This can happen to any website, from online banks to email and file sharing providers.
For example, when friend A tries to access her email, there is a hacker intercepting communication between her device and the email service provider, he can perform MitM attack, tricking her to a fake website. If a hacker obtains your A’s login and password, he can use your A’s email to perform malicious actions, such as sending phishing emails to addresses on your contact list. Your contact A.
Thus, a Man-in-the-Middle Attack is an attack in which a third party intercepts data sent between two points, masquerading as a legitimate man-in-the-middle. Typically, MitM is implemented to trick users into entering their sensitive data into a fake website, but can also be used just to intercept a private conversation.
Wi-Fi Eavesdropping Attack
WiFi eavesdropping is a form of MitM (Man in the middle) attack, in which hackers use a public WiFi to monitor the activities of anyone connected to it. The information that is intercepted can range from personal data to forms of information in internet traffic and web browsing.
Usually, this type of attack is carried out by creating a fake WiFi network with a seemingly legitimate name. This fake WiFi hotspot name is often very similar to the name of a nearby store or company. This method is also known as the Evil Twin method.
For example, a customer enters a restaurant and realizes that there are three WiFi networks available with similar names: Foodie, Foodie1, and Foodie2. Chances are that at least one of them is a scammer’s WiFi.
Hackers can use this technique to collect data on any device that establishes a connection, ultimately allowing him to steal login credentials, credit card information, and other sensitive data.
WiFi eavesdropping is just one of the risks associated with public networks, so it’s best to avoid using it. If you absolutely need to use public WiFi, be sure to check with an employee to see if the network is authentic and secure.
The way criminals use to intercept data
Sometimes, criminals use special computer programs to intercept data. These programs are known as packet sniffing programs and are commonly used by legitimate IT professionals to record digital network traffic, making them easier to detect and analyze. incidents. These programs are also used to track data flows back and forth across the internet in private organizations.
However, many packet sniffing programs are used by cybercriminals to collect sensitive data and carry out illegal activities. So even if nothing bad happens at first, victims may later find out that someone has impersonated them or that confidential company information has been leaked by somehow.
Understanding Cookies Theft and Session Hijacking
Basically, Cookies are small data packets that contain browsing information collected by the web browser from the websites visited. These data packets are usually stored locally (as text files) on the user’s computer so that the website recognizes the user when they return.
Cookies are useful because they facilitate communication between users and the websites they visit. For example, Cookies allow users to stay logged in without having to enter credentials each time they visit a particular website. They can also be used by online stores to record items that customers have previously added to their cart or to track a user’s surfing activity.
Since Cookies are plain text files, they cannot contain Keyloggers or Malware and will not harm your computer. However, with regard to privacy, Cookies can be dangerous and are often used to perform MitM attacks.
If a malicious person can intercept and steal the Cookies you are using to communicate with websites, he can use that information against you. This attack is called Cookies Theft and is usually related to Session Hijacking attack.
A successful Session Hijacking attack allows an attacker to impersonate the victim to communicate with websites. This means that an attacker can access private emails or other websites that may contain sensitive data of the victim. Session Hijacking often occurs at public WiFi hotspots because these spots are easier to track and much more susceptible to MitM attacks.
How to protect from MitM attacks?
Turn off any settings that allow your device to automatically connect to available WiFi networks.
Turn off file sharing and sign out of accounts when you’re not using them.
Use password-protected WiFi networks whenever possible. When there is no other option than to use a public WiFi network, try not to send or access sensitive information.
Regularly update your operating system and anti-virus software.
Avoid performing any financial activities when using public networks, including cryptocurrency transactions.
Use sites that use the HTTPS protocol. However, keep in mind that some hackers do HTTPS spoofing, so this measure is not entirely without risk.
Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is always recommended, especially if you need to access sensitive or work-related data.
Be wary of fake WiFi networks. The name of WiFi should not be trusted just because it is similar to the name of a store or company. If in doubt, ask the staff to confirm the authenticity of the network. You can also ask them if they have a secured network you can borrow.
Turn off WiFi and Bluetooth if you don’t use it. Avoid connecting to a public network if you don’t really need to.
Cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to access users’ data, so it’s important to be savvy and vigilant. Through this article, we have discussed some of the risks that public WiFi networks can present. While most of these risks can be mitigated simply by using a password-protected connection, it’s important to understand how these attacks work and how to prevent them from becoming a problem. next victim.
See more: Binance Account Security Guide