Target 2 Investigation Finds WiFi Hacking Takes Just Seconds - WBAY

Target 2 Investigation Finds WiFi Hacking Takes Just Seconds

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Thousands of us use free WiFi every day -- at the coffee shop, restaurants, even the airport.

It's made getting online easy.

But the next time you grab your laptop, you'll want to think about this: WiFi hacking is no longer a sophisticated crime.

"That's why I try to pick where I'm going," Becky Senn said, a student at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay.

She's enjoying a little coffee and surfing the net at Kavarna, a coffee shop in downtown Green Bay.

Several tables away is Eric Christenson.

The software engineer and his brother Elliot, who's co-founder of Green Bay Net, are with us.

"The hardware you see here is about $60 to $70," Eric said.

To demonstrate how easy a WiFi hacker can lure people in, they've set up their own WiFi network.

"I'm up and running," Eric said. "Awesome."

Eric and Elliot's WiFi network is called New Kavarna WiFi.

It's very similar to the coffee shop's safe and legitimate network called Free Kavarna WiFi.

"I made mine nice and pretty," Eric said. "Capital N on the new, capital K on Kavarna."

Once customers start clicking on the brother's connection, anything they send or receive goes through them.

"Then he could make a targeted attack toward you," Elliot said. "Very quickly."

And they do.

Within Eric and Elliot's network are fake websites they created, like Facebook.

When users trying logging on, they receive an error message.

The user name and password isn't sent to Facebook, it's sent to Eric and Elliot.

"As soon as they log onto Facebook, I got em," Eric said.

In about a half-hour on a Saturday afternoon, the brothers had more than a half-dozen user names and passwords.

The program they created automatically erased most characters in those accounts.

Real hackers wouldn't have.

"Oh it's criminal right away," Elliot said. "If we actually took these passwords, if we collected these passwords and didn't star them out, that's illegal."

The hacking simulation wasn't done in a secret basement or government agency.

It was as Senn put it, by that "typical business guy" a few feet away.

Tips to avoid WiFi hacking:

Trust the establishment's WiFi
Most places display their network's name; if not just ask
In our example, Kavarna's legitimate WiFi connection is what users should use

Look for security hints
A secure site will have a security icon near the website
It will also begin with "HTTPS"
Bookmark your "HTTPS" websites. That would create a level of warning if you were on an unsecured network

Use Last Pass
It's a free website that lets you generate different and secure passwords
Click here for a link

Never use the same password

Create a hotspot on your cell phone
This will ensure you're on a safe connection

Click here to learn about encryption and why it's important to security

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