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EVIL Wi-Fi Hotspots Menace Surfers
By: MarkJ - 20 January, 2005 (12:26 PM)

Cranfield University has today warned about the growing problem of "Evil Twin" wireless hotspots. These are effectively fake public Wi-Fi access points, which are used to steal personal information:

Speaking at the wireless crime event at the Science Museum’s Dana Centre – the UK’s only venue for adults to discuss controversial science - on Thursday 20 January 2005 (19.00-20.30), Dr Phil Nobles, wireless internet and cyber-crime expert, Cranfield University will explain the latest security threats to wireless users and ways to protect themselves from cyber criminals.

So called “Evil Twin” hotspots present a hidden danger for web users,” explains Dr Nobles.

"In essence, users think they’ve logged onto a wireless hotspot connection when in fact they’ve been tricked to connect to the attacker’s unauthorised base station. The latter jams the connection to a legitimate base station by sending a stronger signal within close proximity to the wireless client - thereby turning itself into an “Evil Twin”.

Once the user is connected to the “Evil Twin” the cyber criminal can intercept data that is being transmitted such as bank details or personal information.

“And cyber criminals don’t have to be that clever to carry out such an attack,
” adds Dr Nobles. “Because wireless networks are based on radio signals they can be easily detected by unauthorised users tuning into the same frequency.

Unwitting web users are invited to log into the attacker’s server with bogus login prompts and can pass sensitive data such as user names and passwords which can then be used by unauthorised third parties. This type of cyber crime goes largely undetected because users are unaware that this is taking place until well after the incident has occurred.

The first step towards keeping your information secure is to make sure that all of the devices security features are properly enabled.

Far too many surfers simply ignore this aspect through lack of knowledge or simple negligence.

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