Is the use of public Wi-Fi networks really safe? Being able to log in without a username or password, or to use a password that you find on the table when you're having a coffee is extremely handy. But do you know what the potential consequences are or what you can do to protect yourself?
Hackers mimic a network...
When you log in to a public Wi-Fi network, hackers can use the data on your telephone or computer for illegitimate means. Hackers use special equipment to create a network with a network name that is similar to one that you are already familiar with (e.g. the ‘Wi-Fi on the train’ service on the Dutch railways). When you log in to this network, you end up on the hacker's network rather than the network you thought you were using. A hacker can also fake privacy-sensitive websites such as that of DigiD or your bank. In other words, you think you're visiting these websites but in reality, you're on the website of a hacker.
... and steal your details
Once you've logged in to the hacker's network, data on your PC or mobile phone, such as your login details, can be read. According to Statistics Netherlands' Safety Monitor (2013), in 2013 more than 850,000 Dutch citizens fell victim to hacking, varying from breaking into a computer or mobile phone to logging in to an e-mail or Facebook account.
Are you aware of spy wifi's?