WiFi Hotspots Still Pose a Security Threat - What You Can Do
Earlier this month, PC World predicted what would be some of the biggest security threats in 2012. One of those, targeting mobile devices, is the vulnerability of WiFi hotspots. It's surprisingly easy for hackers to eavesdrop, or even create a fake hotspot, to lure unsuspecting users into their trap.
Smartphone users may not realize it, but they are storing a lot of personal data in their phones and transmitting that same data across wireless networks. All that information: names, dates of birth, credit card numbers, banking PINs, is just a treasure trove for cybercriminals who’d love to get at it through the many unsecure WiFi networks people are using on a daily basis. Compounding this treasure trove is the fact that many smartphone users are unaware that their phones are storing all this information, meaning that even losing the phone can spell trouble for your identity and credit reports.
Although a recent Experian survey found that only 30 percent of smartphone users take advantage of public WiFi hotspots, which tend to be unsecured, the survey also found that half of smartphone users are completely unaware of this problem. Now, imagine if that smartphone is your employee using a company smartphone, sending a confidential email or making a purchase on the phone using a company credit card. An electronic eavesdropper who gets a hold of that information can cause serious problems for both your employee, and your company.
With the number of smartphone users expected to exceed one billion by 2014, cybercrimes against smartphones could turn into a lucrative business for criminals unless users and businesses do something about it. A typical password can be breached in five seconds, with 37 percent of smartphone users thinking that a password is all that’s needed for a network to be secure. What’s even more troubling about this is that some of the most common passwords are some of the easiest for criminals to break. Some of these common passwords are ‘123456’, ‘iloveyou’, ‘password’, and ‘abc123’. No wonder 65 percent of people worldwide have been a victim of a cybercrime! How can passwords like that be considered secure?Continued on the next page