A Wi-Fi hack experiment conducted at various locations at or near the Republican National Convention site in Cleveland, US, underlines how risky it can be to connect to public Wi-Fi without protection from a VPN.
The exercise, carried out by security researchers at Avast, an anti-virus firm, revealed that more than 1,000 delegates were careless when connecting to public Wi-Fi.
Attendees risked the possibility of being spied on and hacked by cybercriminals or perhaps even spies while they checked their emails, banked online, used chat and dating apps, and even while they accessed Pokemon Go.
Avast researchers set up fake Wi-Fi networks at various locations around the Quicken Loans Arena and at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport with fake network names (SSIDs) such as “Google Starbucks”, “Xfinitywifi”, “Attwifi”, “I vote Trump! free Internet” and “I vote Hillary! free Internet” that were either commonplace across the US or looked like they were set up for convention attendees.
Of the people connecting to the fake candidate name Wi-Fi in Cleveland, 70 per cent connected to the Trump-related Wi-Fi, 30 per cent to the Clinton-related Wi-Fi.