Did you know that during the course of this year, the number of Wi-Fi connected devices will exceed the world’s population? This incredible statistic highlights the ubiquitous nature of Wi-Fi. However, the convenience of having public Wi-Fi available practically everywhere comes at the cost of greater risk to users. This infographic delves into the anatomy of a Wi-Fi hack and simple precautions Wi-Fi users should take to ensure that they are surfing safely.
Infographic by Veracode Application Security
Wi-Fi connected devices are no longer for the tech-savvy; they are now the norm. This year, the number of Wi-Fi connected devices will exceed the world’s population. With these increases comes an increase in the usage of Wi-Fi, especially on public networks. Public Wi-Fi is now available everywhere from airports to the metro station. With the convenience, however, comes greater risk. It is easier than ever for hackers to gain access to personal information through these unsecure networks.
Not only is the number of devices increasing, the amount of traffic on those devices is also increasing rapidly.
|Device||Percentage who use Mobile and Wi-Fi Networks||Percentage who use only a Mobile Network|
The number of public Wi-Fi hotspots is estimated to increase by 350 percent over the next 4 years.
This involves a malicious actor using readily available software to intercept data being sent from, or to, your device.
Example Scenario: You’re at a local coffee shop using the free Wi-Fi login to an email account that doesn’t encrypt your login credentials. A malicious actor is sitting in his car outside, using free software to capture the information you submit. He is able to access your account information and potentially use the same login credentials to access other accounts you use, such as online banking or online shopping.
This attack involves sniffing data packets to steal session cookies and hijack a user’s session. These cookies can contain unencrypted login information, even if the site was secure.
Example Scenario: You’re on your favorite social networking site and suddenly your status is updated without you doing so. When you started that browsing session, a hacker was eavesdropping and hijacked your browsing session. While she does not necessarily have your password information, she can impersonate you during that open session to access your messages and send information to your contacts.
This is a rogue Wi-Fi network that appears to be a legitimate network. When users unknowingly join the rogue network, the attacker can launch a man-in-the-middle attack, intercepting all data between you and the network.
Example Scenario: You are at the airport, waiting for your flight. You take advantage of the free Wi-Fi, but there are multiple networks to join. You choose the one with the best connection, unaware that it is a rogue Wi-Fi network created by a hacker. Once you are connected, the hacker steals your sensitive data.
Here are some simple precautions to take to ensure a safer browsing experience: