Media Contact: Janet C. Hart, APR, CFEE (704) 927-8617 office
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Many airports and other public spaces offer free connections for the public to log onto the Internet from their laptop computers or smartphones.
“Hackers are taking advantage of travelers who want to stay connected,” said BBB President Tom Bartholomy.
“They are setting up fake Wi-Fi connections designed to steal your personal information without you even knowing it.”
How it works:
Although hackers have set up fake Wi-Fi connections in many locations, airports are a favorite ‘hot spot’.
When searching for connections, consumers may see a network connection available that could simply be named ‘Free Wi-Fi’.
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 are doing it through the hacker’s computer.
While the user is online, the hacker is stealing information like passwords, credit card and bank account numbers, and social security numbers from the user’s laptop computers.
Airports across the nation continue to report Wi-Fi security issues. A 2008 investigation revealed that Chicago O’Hare Airport had 20 wireless networks present that were specifically designed to hack into unsuspecting users’ computers and networks.
The BBB offers the following wireless safety advice:
- Connect securely - Never connect to an unfamiliar wireless network—even if the name sounds genuine.
- Disable automatic connections - Make sure that your computer and smartphone are not set up to automatically connect to any wireless networks within your range.
- Turn off file sharing when you are on the road to prevent hackers from stealing sensitive data from your computer or smartphone.
- Create a Virtual Private Network (VPN) - A VPN establishes a private network across the public network which prevents a hacker from intercepting your data.
For more information, please visit BBB or call 1-877-317-7236 toll-free in N.C. and S.C.