WiFi: A Home for Hackers

By Cindy Waxer October 15, 2010

Despite the widespread availability of WiFi security tools, nearly half of all home WiFi networks can be hacked in seconds, according to a new survey.

Detailed research carried out for the card protection and insurance company CPP revealed that after analyzing 40,000 different WiFi networks in six cities in the U.K., almost half had no password or very poor security encryption. As a result, nearly 50 percent of Internet users are vulnerable to hackers who can easily strip a hard drive of personal and financial information.

What’s worse, the survey discovered that large numbers of people will log on to an open “rogue” access point in the city center without asking any questions regarding security, thereby making themselves vulnerable to serious data security breaches. In fact, in London, the test found 155 victims, in Birmingham 103, and in Manchester 72, with the overall rate equivalent to around 350 per hour. In all cases, the hackers were able to obtain usernames and passwords from public network users sitting in local coffee shops and restaurants.

"With the growth in the number of smartphones and wireless networks, it has become far easier for hackers to crack usernames and passwords, allowing them access to emails, social networks, and online banking sites and even to assume the online identity of their victim," said CryptoCard’s Jason Hart, the ethical hacker who conducted the wardriving.

According to the report, in London, 4,746 out of 14,908 access points surveyed were open, in Birmingham it was 910 out of 3,753, and in Manchester, 870 out of 2,894.

"When people think of hackers they tend to think of highly organized criminal gangs using sophisticated techniques to crack networks. However, as this experiment demonstrates, all a hacker requires is a laptop computer and widely available software," added Hart.




Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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