Freelancers and road warriors who often rely on the free public Wi-Fi available in coffee shops like Starbucks are more at risk than most when it comes to securing their personal and financial data, It’s a well known fact that public networks are far less secure than the private variety, but what’s less clear is just what lengths hackers and cybercriminals will go to gain access to your sensitive data.
One of the more interesting tactics hackers employ, according to cybercrime prevention solution’s provider ThreatMetrix, is the seemingly obvious practice of leaving a malicious USB drive lying around on coffee shop tables, in the hope that someone might be curious enough to take a look at what’s stored on it. You’d think that people wouldn’t so foolish as to just plug random USB drives in their computer, but apparently they do, and through this hackers can retrieve all kinds of personal data, including password for social networks.
Some of the more sophisticated techniques, detailed in ThreatMetrix’s infographic below, include using network scanners to detect open ports on a device that’s connected to a public network. Also popular is the use of so-called “hotspot honeypots”, which allow hackers to intercept a user’s Wi-Fi connection and see all of their internet traffic.
Finally, some cybercriminals use slightly more James Bond-esque methods, such as using a smartphone or other device to film their targets while they’re accessing their sensitive data. These scenarios could involve something as simple as filming a person while they’re using their credit card to pay the cashier, or else filming them as they enter their password to login to email accounts etc.
So the next time you’re sat in Starbucks and take the opportunity to catch up on some work, be sure to keep ‘em peeled for the sneaky tactics we’ve just described.
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