Expert warns of free internet hotspot fakers

Expert warns of free internet hotspot fakers
Who is watching? Photo: DPA
Using free wireless internet hotspots should only be done carefully, and never to conduct sensitive business, a computer security expert warned on Sunday.

Millions of people use mobile internet services across the country, yet the free internet hotspots should be viewed with caution, said Thorsten Urbanski of the Bochum software company G Data in an interview.

“Despite a possibly well-known name, the user does not know who is behind the hotspot,” he said.

The greatest danger of encountering a manipulated hotspot is to be found at places where many people are using internet services – such as the CeBIT computer trade fair, which will be opened in Hannover on Monday.

“As a consumer you have no chance of telling who is behind a free hotspot,” he warned.

He said criminals would only need a notebook with a UMTS card in order to create a hotspot under the name of a large provider, which would give the false impression of security.

Public wireless internet hotspots should never be used for sensitive business such as online banking, he said.

“These man-in-the-middle attacks allow the perpetrators to get into the entire data stream without any difficulties. We can only strongly warn against using free hotspots,” said Urbanski.


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