Online fraud hand in hand with caffeine! Hotspots for identity theft

Be wary which Wi-Fi network you are connecting to at your local coffee shop. The danger of fraudsters running bogus networks with the same name as the real Wi-Fi network is high, according to Jumio Inc research. But how does it happen?

One of the fraudsters’ latest ploys to steal identities is to sit in a coffee shop that offers free Wi-Fi to its customers and then use his or her laptop to broadcast a wireless network that’s named exactly like the venue’s official Wi-Fi. The fraudster will use that as a launching point to “get to know” their ID theft victim. 

  1. Coffee lovers log onto the fake hotspot, which contains malware that allows the fraudster to access their machine whilst he/she is sitting scant metres away; 
  2. The fraudster accesses the customer’s online accounts by hacking their password using cryptography tools such as Cain & Abel, all while he sips a latte and smiles over at his victim; and
  3. The customer leaves the coffee shop and the fraudster moves onto his next victim, all the while amassing access to online accounts for banking, retail, and social media, ready for exploitation.
Tony Sales, convicted fraudster turned fraud prevention consultant, said: “This is one of the fraudsters’ favourite ID theft exploits as it yields rich data that they can use to conduct fraud straightaway. They sit around in coffee shops for half a day and get 50 or so identities with passwords to their targets’ online grocery shopping, their online bank accounts and other transactional sites. Then it’s time to get back to base to leverage this data and get spending.”     

So, what places should you think twice about before connecting to an unsecure WiFi network? Here are the top five locations for online identity theft:

1. Coffee shops and restaurants

Between interviews and lunch meetings, food and drink establishments are notorious for attracting both unsuspecting workers logging on to get work done and fraudsters looking for easy targets.

2. Airports and other transportation hubs

The large amount of travelers making the most of their gate times online has become a goldmine for fraudsters.

3. Hospitals and doctors’ offices

Given the potential of using a shared network to access or view personal information like medical records and payment records, medical offices can also serve as a prime spot for identity theft.

4. Libraries and bookstores

Both of these establishments are places where people commonly go online to get work done, connecting to a shared network and putting their information at risk.

5. Apartment buildings

While residents are often encouraged to password-protect their personal wireless networks, many people leave their networks free of password protection in favor of convenience. This choice often puts people at risk in their own homes.

Image source

Share this story

Close
Menu
Send this to a friend