In the light of the recent CNBC 3-min demo on how to hijack Four Seasons hotel Wi-Fi that got 614K views, I would like to address internet safety and precautions you can take when connecting to a public Wi-Fi access point (AP).
Hacking tools and software has become more advanced, increasing the risks of being online even further. Connecting to a public network has always been regarded as a risk, but now even places that were considered safe in the past are becoming more unsafe.
One such example is WIFI authentication portal at hotels. Immediately after getting their room key, most people hurry to logon their smartphones to check what they have missed out on while traveling, but relying on the hotel being a safe place can be a light-minded thing.
I have been connecting to over 400 Wi-Fi networks during my work and leisure related trips. Being a frequent traveller who taken proper precautions, I still sometimes consider login in to a new Wi-Fi network as taking a leap of faith. However, if I were to conduct a security review (the way I would do when I was at Verizon security team) on each Wi-Fi network before I login, would leave me with little time to do actual work.
Instead, I devised a simple 3-second test of a hotel Wi-Fi security that I would like to share with you today. Intentionally type the wrong username and password and see if the network allows you to login. If incorrect name or room number is accepted, that's NOT the hotel network, even though it might look like it. You should disconnect immediately and notify the hotel staff.
The logic behind this hacking attempt is simple: since a hacker does not know the correct username and password combination, he/she will have to accept any user input. This tactic relies on the fact that both you and the hotel know some shared information but the Wi-Fi hacker don't.
I hope these simple steps will help you in the future and make sure that you do not become a victim of a rouge WIFI attack.
Have a great week ahead.
Based in Singapore, PowerData2Go's solution is a blend of personal WIFI hotspot hardware and VoIP (voice over IP) software working together to bring seamless connectivity to frequent travelers.