A 7-year old was able to hack into a public Wi-Fi hotspot and access a stranger’s laptop in less than 11 minutes.
Alerting the public to the risks of using unsecured public Wi-Fi is something we at Hide My Ass! are really concerned about, so much so, that we ran a recent experiment to demonstrate how easy it is to hack into a public Wi-Fi hotspot, and what better way than setting the challenge to a 7- year old?
We set the challenge to IT-savvy primary school student Betsy Davies from Dulwich in South London, who was able to hack into a public Wi-Fi hotspot after she searched and watched a video tutorial online which explained how to hack a network. It took 7-year old Betsy just 10 minutes and 54 seconds to hack into a Wi-Fi hotspot. She then set up a Rogue Access Point which is often used by cybercriminals to trigger a ‘man in the middle’ attack allowing her to ‘sniff’ traffic.
Stay safe when using public Wi-Fi hotspots
The most secure way to protect your data from being hacked when using a public Wi-Fi hotspot is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN encrypts all the data you send over the internet, sending it through a private VPN tunnel, meaning that if there is anyone waiting to steal your information, all they will see is a lot of mumbo jumbo. When you use a VPN, you are given a new personal IP (Internet Protocol) address and your data is encrypted, so when you use public Wi-Fi, every task you perform appears as if it is coming from the VPN.
We’re delighted that our campaign to warn the public about the dangers of using public Wi-Fi hotspots has made the rounds in so many different publications, highlighting the fact that if a 7- year old is able to hack into public Wi-Fi, then anyone can!
Here are some of our favourites – where, of course, you can find out more information including how to stay safe on Wi-Fi networks and a Wi-Fi hacker’s glossary.