Five most common places to get hacked
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Anywhere-working is convenient, efficient and productive. Why sit around an airport bored stiff, or waste time staring out the train window, when you could be churning through your work day? But while productive and sometimes boredom-blasting, mobile work can leave you vulnerable to a new range of hackers, trackers and cyber-attackers who hijack nearby data streams. Free Wi-Fi is usually either unsecured, or has shared passwords. Even the most inept hacker can hover nearby and easily intercept and decode your data stream via “sniffer” software that lets them see your online activity, capture your passwords, identify your device and your name. Visual hacking is even more basic, and involves simply watching over your shoulder as you type in login details and passwords to your bank, work or other site. More insidious is ‘blue bugging’ – where your attacker latches onto your smartphone via Bluetooth, takes control of your phone and leaves all subsequent calls open for eavesdropping, or ‘blue-snarfing’ – where data on phones, tablets or laptops can be hijacked via your Bluetooth.
Here’s the five most common places that you risk getting hacked, tracked or attacked by someone in the near vicinity.
Airports are such a trap for mobile workers. Although some airlines now offer sky-high wifi, with prices to match, most departing travellers are eager to latch onto that airport wifi till that moment when the plane wheels leave the tarmac – and arriving passengers are as keen to connect as they are to lunge into the aisle at touchdown, and line up impatiently for the exit door opening, a good ten minutes later. You’re surrounded by people on devices – how many can you trust?
Plenty of mobile workers will hog a café table for hours while they blast through their digital to-do list. Online banking? Tick. Staff expenses account? Tick. Corporate CRM system with full details on all the company’s customers? Tick. But when you’re so busy, chances are you won’t notice the extra-curious person on the next table carefully watching your screen – and your keyboard actions.
Whether you’re waiting to check in, waiting for your taxi after checking out, waiting to meet someone or waiting between conference sessions, hotel lobbies seem to be places where there’s a heck of a lot of waiting to be done. But not everyone in the lobby is a waiter. Can you tell a porter from a blue-snarfer?
TRAIN / BUS / FERRY
The daily commute can be a big trap for unwary players. It seems so safe, you do it all the time, you’ve got your favourite seat near the rear window but not too close to the door … But all it takes is one cyber-attacker keen to hitch a ride on your blue-tooth and that safe feeling will be gone for good.
If you’ve ever left your laptop in the boot of your partner’s car, had an inopportune hard disk demise or an inconvenient internet outage, you may have ventured into an internet café. These are usually places better known for their inexpensive internet-connected computers than for connoisseur-quality coffee. But before logging into sensitive systems or posting your passwords into a precariously protected PC – think carefully, not only may there be hackers nearby, but the computer itself may not be safe.