There are a myriad of things out there that goes under the overall name ‘hacking.’ But what exactly are these acts and what is the absolutely easiest one for hackers to accomplish?
This is a stealth attack, like a deadly ninja, known as a fake wireless access point (Fake WAP). You may also know it as a ‘man in the middle’ attack. Hackers can do this easily enough, stealing your data secretly so that you’re none the wiser. Worse yet, you’ll HELP them do it! A VPN is your key to making sure this doesn’t happen to you, even if you do fall into their trap.
As a bonus, I get to add pictures of ninjas to this post and it totally makes sense.
What is a fake wireless access point
This is when a hacker uses a simple piece of software and a wireless network access card. They will use these and go out into the public somewhere and make a connection available that you can connect with wirelessly. Usually they will connect with a legitimate wireless connection that is available in the public area and mask it – mask it like a ninja!
What does this usually look like? Let me tell you, it doesn’t come up on your wireless networks available list as “Ninja hacking your laptop.” Usually they’ll be in a public place where there is a well known free wifi point. They will then make their free wireless access point (WAP) a similar name.
For instance, if they’re in a Starbucks that has free wifi, they’ll just open up a fake WAP that says “Starbucks Free WiFi.” If they’re out at, say, an airport where many people just want to connect for a moment and get on with their day, they could use “YVR Free Wifi,” or “Vancouver Airport Free WiFi.”
If you’re not careful you will be none the wiser – like if a ninja attacked you!
How hackers use the data they steal
The trick is that these ‘free’ wifi accounts will have an account and password associated with them. The fake WAP will be setup by the hacker to take the information, that you freely give to them when you sign in, and use it to try to sign in to other popular sites.
If you start seeing unknown charges on your Amazon, iTunes or any other online retailer that uses your usual sign in name and password, you’ve likely been hacked in this manner. Just when you thought hackers were so clever and conniving, you gave them your information – just like how a ninja lays in wait for you to give them an opening to kill you!
They will also use the information taken from a fake WAP to try and steal your Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts. They can then use it to sell your accounts to advertisers and steal data within your account.
Even if you aren’t asked for a sign up, they can still ‘see’ your data as you send it over their fake WAP. The number of passwords that are sent in plain text, and the amount of data that isn’t encrypted, is much higher than you think.
VPN: How you can protect yourself from a fake WAP
This is the simplest and easiest of hacks to do, it is also the simplest to defend against. A VPN will protect all of your communications, regardless of who is providing your WAP. It will not recycle passwords on private or public sites and all data is completely encrypted.
Using one for even a secure and trusted WAP is just as important as ever. I’m hoping with this information that you not only think twice about connecting to a WAP you don’t know, but that you consider truly protecting yourself with one of the top VPN providers that we suggest. They’ll let you defeat a whole clan of ninjas – you’ll be a Super Ninja!