Public Wi-Fi hotspots leave users vulnerable to hackers

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wifi-hack.jpgBBC’s consumer advice show Watchdog has uncovered just how vulnerable users of public Wi-Fi spots could be. Wi-Fi networks managed by BT Openzone, The Cloud and T-Mobile were the focus of investigations.

The Watchdog team “used equipment readily available on the internet to hijack wireless traffic at a variety of hotspots, while experts working with the programme-makers could have been able to take control of other hotspot users’ internet accounts. Once inside these accounts, malicious hackers would have then been able to harvest masses of personal data which could enable them to access the users’ accounts on a variety of websites, including those for shopping and banking.”

Tom Illube, chief executive of internet security firm Garlik said: “You don’t have to be a super hacker to get into this sort of information and therefore it’s becoming more widespread and we as consumers need to be more careful about how we use them and what we use them for.”

The show, set to air on Thursday night, encouraged the use of VPN (Virtual Private Networking) to safeguard against attacks from hackers.

Gerald Lynch