The demand for the Internet can lead some users anywhere they can access Internet hotspots. But, can hackers create fake WiFi hotspots? In this article, we will answer this question and explain how Internet users can prevent themselves from being vulnerable to fake and public hotspots. We will also give you tips on how you can identify fake hotspots.
Criminals and malicious hackers can take advantage of loopholes in the internet industry to get access to people’s privacy and undertake unwarranted cyber crimes. Internet users need to know how to engage while using public or even private Wi-Fi hotspots and still be safe always. Let us explore this part of cyber security and see ways to evade online predators who use hotspots to dupe users unknowingly.
What is a fake Wi-Fi hotspot and how can you identify it?
A fake hotspot is a malicious wireless network that hackers can use to lure users into clicking or downloading malware into their smartphones or computers. These hotspots are usually around public places like coffee shops, airports, bus terminals, etc. They are set and seem to be legitimate which makes some users fall victim.
To identify a fake hotspot, check its name first and see how ‘real’ it looks. If it has some like ‘Free Wi-Fi, Free hotspot, or any name that doesn’t represent any business or establishment around where you are, then that might be a fake hotspot. Another way to identify a fake public Wi-Fi network is if it doesn’t require a password to access it. Most businesses offer passwords to their customers to access their hotspots.
Fake hotspots, fake public Wi-Fi networks, or Evil Twin public hotspots have the following characteristic to help you identify them.
- They don’t have any security access codes or passwords.
- Their connection is so slow that you can’t load pages like a safer connection
- They are all free
- They have page redirects that act as bait for users to click on them.
- They imitate names that resemble those of nearby businesses, hotels, etc.
Can hackers create fake WiFi hotspots?
Yes! Hackers can create fake hotspots to get into your devices and steal crucial information like credit card details, steal passwords, conversations, etc. They can also install malware on your device or take over all your online activities including changing passwords. In such a case, some hackers ask for a ransom to get full control of your account and passwords.
How can I protect myself from fake hotspots?
Some users have fallen victim to fake hotspots or Evil Twin public hotspots. Here are some tips to protect yourself against these hotspots:
- Always be suspicious when you see two hotspots that look similar in public places, at work, at school, etc, If they are associated with a certain business, ask their staff. If you find this hotspot at your workplace, relay this to the people in charge.
- Use a legitimate VPN to access any Wi-Fi you are not sure of. VPNs create a level of encryption between a user and a website. Hackers might get a hard time intercepting your data traffic on fake hotspots.
- Always switch off the automatic Wi-Fi connection on your smartphones or computers. This will prevent your device from connecting to fake public Wi-Fi or Evil Twins automatically without your knowledge.
TIP: If you accidentally or unknowingly connect to a fake hotspot, disconnect immediately, connect to a secure network, and change passwords to your priority websites. Report the matter to your financial institutions and security officers for further action. Always keep off hackers from your Windows computer or any other devices.
We hope you won’t be the next victim.
Can hackers hack your hotspot?
Yes. Hackers can hack your hotspot, router, and Wi-Fi and intercept your browsing to get access to your personal and financial credentials like credit cards, social media accounts, banking applications, passwords, etc. If you suspect you have been hacked, try the tips we have highlighted in this post to get back to your online safety.
Related: Why are websites hacked?
Can someone hack a phone with just a phone number?
No. No one can hack you directly with just your phone number. However, they can indirectly access your information if they call you with numbers that seem to be official and ask you for certain details. They can use those details to access your online account or bank apps.
Read: Wi-Fi Security Tips: Precautions To Take At Public Hotspots.