Spoofed Wi-Fi Hot Spot Scam

Are you having a frozen beverage poolside? That’s fine by us — but you might want to avoid any pineapples in your drink. In hacker-speak, a “pineapple” is any device that creates a fake wi-fi hotspot that gives off the appearance of a legitimate one. Scammers will give the name of the hotspot a similar or identical name to a hotel or coffee shop’s real hotspot and wait for people to log on. Once that happens, anything the unsuspecting user does, can easily be viewed by the scammer. This includes bank accounts and other sensitive information.

The use of these “pineapples” has been on the rise thanks in part to the ever-increasing use of wireless and mobile devices. Not only that, but our vulnerability has risen since we conduct more of our financial transactions over the web than ever before. Not only that, but capped wireless data plans also force many of us to to switch to wi-fi whenever an open network is available. The bottomline is, if you’re on the road and looking for free Internet access, you could severely be at risk.

Some cyber criminals even ingeniously set up hotspots with fake name and fake login prompts, giving the criminal the victim’s name and password right off the bat. And since many of us reuse our passwords, that sort of information could be the key to accessing all sorts of other sensitive information.

You basically have two options when it comes to protecting yourself against these criminals. The first option is increasing your data plan in order to meet your needs. This is easily determined by looking at your monthly statement and determining how much data you use. Sure this might be a more expensive option, but it sure beats getting hacked. And your second option is pretty simple…don’t connect to suspicious wi-fi hotspots!

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