Consumers need to be more aware of the potential dangers of connecting to a public Wi-Fi network, a new security report has warned.
Wi-Fi networks in cafés and coffee shops are “high-risk”, according to the study, partly because of their popularity and convenience.
Cyber criminals are targeting people who connect to public Wi-Fi networks, and can access their private data without them realising.
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“Wherever there is an unsecured public Wi-Fi network, there is the threat of attack,” reads a new report from iPass. “However, coffee shops are seen as the most dangerous public Wi-Fi venue of all.”
Research involving 500 CIO and IT decision makers from the UK, US, Germany and France found that coffee shops are the most popular places to connect to a public Wi-Fi network, followed by airports and hotels.
“Our research shows that man-in-the-middle attacks are considered to be the greatest mobile security concern of using public Wi-Fi hotpots (69 percent),” the report explains.
“This is when a hacker secretly attacks the data flowing to and from the internet to the mobile device.”
Hackers behind man-in-the-middle attacks can intercept communications between two parties who believe they’re communicating directly with each other, without either of the victims noticing.
“Cafés and coffee shops are everywhere and offer both convenience and comfort for mobile workers, who flock to these venues for the free high speed internet as much as for the the coffee,” said iPass vice president of engineering, Raghu Konka.
“However, cafés invariably have lax security standards, meaning that anyone using these networks will be potentially vulnerable.”