Wi-Fi Hotspots Become Hackers' Delight

Easier now for hackers to snatch data from thin air

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 17, 2008 3:05 AM CST

(Newser) – Wi-Fi hotspots multiplying around the nation are boosting convenience for internet users on the go, but are also making life easier for hackers, the Wall Street Journal reports. Hackers at hotspots in hotels, airports and cafes can pluck other users' financial details and company information out of the air.

Businesses offering Wi-Fi aren't keen on bad publicity so authorities suspect the scale of the problem is being under-reported. Security experts have plenty of tips to avoid wireless hacking, but the main one is simply to be careful. "You've got to assume that anything you are doing is being monitored," warned an FBI cybercrimes investigator.

In this still frame taken from video, a MetroFi's transmitter affixed to a street sign is shown, Friday, June 1, 2007, in Portland, Ore. Wi-Fi hotspots are growing in number around the country but security experts warn that they can be favorite hangouts for hackers. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
In this still frame taken from video, a MetroFi's transmitter affixed to a street sign is shown, Friday, June 1, 2007, in Portland, Ore. Wi-Fi hotspots are growing in number around the country but security...   (Associated Press)
There have been a few high-profile wireless hacking cases but investigators believe that the problem is being under-reported, as businesses offering Wi-Fi hotspots seek to avoid negative publicity.
There have been a few high-profile wireless hacking cases but investigators believe that the problem is being under-reported, as businesses offering Wi-Fi hotspots seek to avoid negative publicity.   (Getty Images)
In this still frame taken from video, Associated Press reporter Sarah Skidmore is shown connecting to MetroFi near a transmitter affixed to a street sign, Friday, June 1, 2007, in Portland, Ore. Cybercrime experts warn that many Wi-Fi users are unaware that using Wi-Fi hotspots can expose them to the...
In this still frame taken from video, Associated Press reporter Sarah Skidmore is shown connecting to MetroFi near a transmitter affixed to a street sign, Friday, June 1, 2007, in Portland, Ore. Cybercrime...   (Associated Press)
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