As WPIX NY reporter James Ford explains, “Public WIFi is a great and helpful tool and coverage is expanding… but also expanding is its potential danger to you.”
Most people don’t realize that public WiFi are just radio waves, similar to the type that you can listen to in your car. And just as easy as it is to find your favorite station, a hacker can use public WiFi to listen in on you!
In the middle of Times Square, Ford visited with PRIVATE WiFi team members, Raj Devjani and Lane Liston. In this demonstration Devjani and Liston set up a rogue, or fake, hotspot in Times Square. The official WiFi name is “Times Sq Free WiFi,” but the imposter they created is “Times-Square-Free-WiFi.” Many fell for the trick and within seconds people immediately logged on.
Just like that, Devjani was able to see where and what people were surfing on their mobile devices. Some were using Chase bank, others buying tickets to a Broadway show, many were browsing Facebook and checking their e-mail. But no matter what they were doing they all had something in common: they were exposed.
Luckily, Devjani and Liston were merely just showing WPIX how easy it is for a hacker to get this information. If they had been malicious these public WiFi users would have been in big trouble.
Here is the scariest part, as Ford tells his viewers, “[Hackers] can snoop on you at any and all places you are likely to be online like your favorite coffee place, or waiting at the airport, or even in the subway or at a hotel… anywhere there is public WiFi.”
There is a simple way to stop the snooping. At the end of the segment, PRIVATE WiFi CEO Kent Lawson states, “The only way to protect yourself in any WiFi hotspot: there is only one answer, and that’s a personal VPN.”
With a VPN, a hacker can see that you are transmitting data but it is encrypted so all they can pick up on is gibberish. You and your data are 100% secure and private.
A random smartphone user on the street was polled after being told about the dangers of WiFi hacking. In support of a VPN like PRIVATE WiFi, he says, “If something as simple as an app can stop that, I would be all for that.”
Finally, Lawson concludes, “PRIVATE WiFi was established for ordinary people to protect the privacy of their communications full stop.” If you want to protect yourself on public WiFi too, you can download a free desktop/laptop trial or check out our free iOS app. (Android coming soon.)