World Cup ‘Woops’: Brazilian Newspaper Publishes Photo with WiFi Password

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A behind-the-scenes photograph of the World Cup security center was published in Correio Braziliense — a Brazilian newspaper — and you can clearly see the words “wifi network: WORLDCUP” and “password: b5a2112014″ on a whiteboard in the photograph.

The man in the photo is head of the federal information security center. Why he allowed a reporter to take photographs in the multi-million dollar security center remains a mystery. This error could have given cybercriminals the opportunity to carry out man-in-the-middle attacks to break into their network and compromise their systems.

This news comes on the heels of a study by Kaspersky Lab, which looked at 6,000 of the WiFi networks located in Sao Paulo and found that about 1 in 4 — or 26% — were completely open, and that an additional 12% had weak security that took only a few minutes to break.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time a SSID and password have been disclosed. At the 2014 Super Bowl XLVIII, CBS Morning News publicized the WiFi code for the “secret, first of its kind command center” near East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Clearly, it’s not just the WiFi networks at the World Cup or other high-profile sporting events that are putting people at risk. If online security snafus are happening on “safe” networks, what is happening in free wireless hotspots at your corner coffee shop, gym, hotel, or anywhere else you log on to the Internet?

As WiFi connections have soared worldwide, identity theft and data breaches have reached record highs.

Most people do not understand the security risks that are inherent to public WiFi networks. When you log into public WiFi networks, there are usually Terms and Conditions, but have you actually read that document closely, if at all?

What is the best way to protect your sensitive communications? Use a personal VPN like PRIVATE WiFi. A VPN protects your identity and personal information by encrypting your WiFi signal. Everything you do online is protected with bank-level security, so you can surf, share, shop, and bank with confidence.

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Elaine Rigoli

Elaine Rigoli is PRIVATE WiFi's manager of digital content strategy.