When we need Wi-Fi in public, sometimes it seems like we’ll say to ourselves, “I’ll take the first one I can get — I don’t care how shady it seems.” It might be slow, but free internet is always better than the Dark Ages-like periods when we don’t have any access.
Unfortunately, hackers know this too, and they’ve basically perfected a way to steal valuable information from your devices through attacks on public Wi-Fi networks that look like software updates. Hotels most of all have been hit with this threat for the valuable info travelling businessmen carry with them — and for their constant need to be online. The worst part is, big software companies like Microsoft, Google and Comcast either have no idea about it or have inadvertently put their customers at risk.
Antivirus software and internet security firm Kaspersky Lab has dubbed it the Darkhotel APT, and it puts everyone logged in to a public Wi-Fi network at risk.
Here’s how it works:
-Hackers infect hotel or public Wi-Fi networks with the Darkhotel malware.
-In hotels, hackers track specific businessmen and wait until they log in to the Wi-Fi network.
-Once on the internet, their computers are prompted with updates to popular software like Adobe Flash, which few people think twice about installing.
-After the hacker has access to your the computer, your information belongs to them.
Kaspersky, which has tracked the attacks for the last four years all over the world, still cannot explain how the hackers can follow certain victims with pinpoint accuracy or who the hackers even are.
Over the summer, news about companies like Google, Comcast and AT&T broke that they had made customers vulnerable to attack by making Android phones automatically trust certain networks and giving all their public Wi-Fi networks the same name. All a hacker would have to do was set up a network and name it the same thing as your phone’s already trusted connections — and presto! — instant access to your devices.
It has never been easier for someone to look at your private information (or pics if you’ve got those too) through public Wi-Fi networks. So next time you are considering working at Starbucks or logging on to Wi-Fi in a hotel, you may want to think twice.