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The danger of public Wi-Fi hotspots has been exposed by a seven year old girl following a short video tutorial, reports ITV.
The experiment – part of a public awareness campaign by VPN provider ‘Hide My Ass’ – provided seven year old British girl Betsy Davies with a laptop, a tutorial, and a subject willing to be hacked in an environment imitating that found in many of the United Kingdom’s 270,000 public Wi-Fi spots. The results were worrying: not only did Betsy complete the hack, she managed to pull off the attack in just over 10 minutes, according to Information Age.
Following the video tutorial, Davies was able to complete the attack and steal virtual data in just 10 minutes and 54 seconds, by setting up a Rogue Access Point for a ‘Man in the Middle’ attack.
“The results of this experiment are worrying but not entirely surprising,” said Marcus Dempsey, a security expert who oversaw the experiment. “Adults need to get their heads around online security basics – and stick to them whenever they connect to an unsecure network.”
“As for children, while it’s admirable educators are focusing on skills like coding, it’s important to teach them about the dangers that lurk online, as well instilling a clear sense of the ethics – just as we did with the child that participated in this experiment. After all, as easily as one can now code a computer game, so one can fall into the dark world of hacking.”
Hide My Ass followed this up with an additional survey that revealed 59 percent of people regularly use unsecure, open Wi-Fi hotspots, with one in five doing so once a week or more often. Worse, 31 percent of those use such networks to send emails and personal documents, while 19 percent admitted using them to log-in to their online banking.
Cian McKenna-Charley, Hide My Ass’s marketing director told the Daily Mail: “The image of cyber criminals hiding in a dark room in some far-flung part of the world is antiquated – they are just as likely to be sitting next to you in a coffee shop or public library. And if a child can perform a basic hack on a Wi-Fi network in minutes, imagine the damage a professional criminal hacker could do.”
Author Alan Martin, ESET