Data Security

In Russia for World Cup? Beware of fake WiFi hotspots stealing user data

The Football World Cup 2018 has gathered thousands of fans from around the world in Russia to watch their favorite team battling to become world champion – In case your team is winning, free WiFi hotspots would be nothing short of a blessing to upload those moments on the Internet.

In 2014, during the Sochi Olympics, Richard Enge, a reporter from NBC News reported how his laptop was hacked within a few moments of being connected to a WiFi network at Russian Olympic Village. The same happened in Rio Olympics when tons of free malicious WiFi hotspots were found stealing personal data of tourists.

Public WiFi networks are infamous for being gateways for hackers and can be like ripe fruit for hackers allowing them to steal user data and perform other malicious activities including: 

Evil Twin/Wi-Fi Phishing

Justifying its name, in Evil twin, the access routes creates a cloned network with the same network name. Evil Twin works in the same way as the normal phishing threat does when the user enters into the wrong access route, evil twin starts stealing system’s data or attacks in any other way.

New war drivers

War drivers are those who try to hack the network illegally especially on an open network like a public free Wi-Fi network. These war drivers could be anyone like hackers, professional criminals or even the employees or competitors of the particular business.


One of the ancient types of the online threats is malware also influence wireless network. Viruses enter into the wireless network, send requests, and connect to the local area networks to make a way to the nearest wireless networks and corrupt the network system coming in its way.

Data eavesdropping

This is a very common Internet threat. With lots of interceptable signals and data sharing techniques, eavesdropping also prevails in the public Wi-Fi network.

How to identify malicious and fake WiFi hotspots?

But how to identify which public WiFi hotspots is malicious and which is not? For an unsuspected or computer novice, it is an impossible task however, there is a tool to identify malicious WiFi spots.

The IT security researchers at Symantec (previously Skycure) have developed a simple tool, which, based on your location, will alert you in case there is a fake malicious WiFi network near you. We took advantage of the tool and found several potentially dangerous networks nearby.

How can you keep a safe distance from these threats?

If you are in Russia or anywhere else remember not to connect to fake WiFi hotspots that lure you into using that connection for free – Try to buy a local sim card with a 3G or 4G plan to use a secure Internet. Moreover, turn off Sharing, turn on the Firewall, if not in use then turn the WiFi connection off, use a VPN, check for SSL and implement two-step authentication.

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