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The Hidden Dangers of Free Wi-Fi Networks
November 18, 2014

It has become increasingly popular to use free WiFi networks in public places, especially now, when about 90% of smartphones are equipped with WiFi module. Every fourth smartphone owner uses WiFi on their devices. But are you aware of the fact that this type of connection is unsafe for you and your device?


Quite recently, for example, the world saw some detailed information about a huge spying operation called Darkhotel APT. Among the victims of this virus campaign are the CEO’s of huge corporations who stay in hotels. And as statistics shows, 64% of hotels offer free WiFi and over 60% of all free WiFi spots are exposed to hacking.

 Over 60% of all free WiFi spots are exposed to hacking


The experts from “Kaspersky Laboratory” have revealed the details about the cyber-spying campaign Darkhotel APT that has been targeting hotel guests over the past few years. The victims are usually CEO’s of huge corporations, particularly from Asia and the USA and who mainly stay in the countries of Asiatic-Pacific area. According to the research, hackers infect hotel networks with the spyware that accesses the devices of businessmen who connect to free WiFi. This cyber-attack takes even less than 2 seconds.

What Makes Free WiFi Networks Unsafe?

The victims are frequently offered to install malware that looks like updates to such legitimate software as Adobe Flash, Google Toolbar, or Windows Messenger. In the process of installation, the hackers can use such tools as Tapaoux, Pioneer, Karba, Nemim, etc. When this malware gets on the computer or another device, it tries to detect corporate information and accounting data, as well as installs additional and more complex tools, including keyloggers.

How Is It Made?

In the course of the research, the experts from Kaspersky Laboratory discovered that web browsers used by the hotel guests are redirected right to Troyan .exe files by means of the newly integrated HTML-code. «The hackers have carefully integrated both the HTML code and .exe files on the trusted resources, and namely, on the registration portals that belong to the hotel network. But it’s worth noting that all the malicious files have already been removed», – the experts inform.

How to Keep Yourself Protected when Connecting to the WiFi Network?

Even if you are not a CEO of a huge corporation, would you be willing to give someone an access to your personal photos, videos, conversations, credit card data, passwords and accounts if you shop online? Obviously you wouldn’t.

5 Ways to Protect Your Device from Cyber-Attacks

·   Disable automatic connecting to a new network

·   Disable public access to your files and folders

·   Do not process any money transactions using free WiFi

·   Make sure you use free WiFi network with the right name – ask hotel administrators or restaurant waiters to confirm

·   Setup Secure VPN connection on your desktop or mobile device (for example, This way, everything you share online will be transferred via the encoded SSL-connection and you will rest assured about your safety.

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