Why White Hat Hackers Choose Airports as Their Demo Targets

In the world of information technology, not all hackers are cut from the same cloth. We used to speak about hackers almost exclusively in terms of cybercrime. These days, however, we must make a distinction between white hat and black hat hackers.

Black hats are the bad guys who are driven by nefarious motives. White hats, on the other hand, are skilled security enthusiasts who show us how we should protect against black hats. It so happens that white hats often choose airport Wi-Fi networks to show us just how dangerous they can be, and we have seen two major examples over the last few months.

Spoofing a Wi-Fi Connection to Trick Air Travelers

The first example took place in at a U.S. airport. A white hat hacker showed a news television station how to use a device known as the Wi-Fi Pineapple to trick air travelers into connecting to a dangerous connection. This device can be powered by batteries, carried in a backpack or briefcase and used to spoof a Wi-Fi connection such as those offered by airport hotspots. In this case, the white hat hacker could see the connection history of an unsuspecting user and even gain control of his file system.

Access to Credit Card Info, Passwords, Banking Statements and More

The second example occurred in a busy international airport, where a white hat hacker set up a demonstration for the city’s newspaper. Similar to the U.S. demo, this white hat set up a fake hotspot connection for unsuspecting travelers. This security expert showed how he was able to see credit card information, passwords, banking statements and more. 

This situation was more ominous because the white hat hacker explained that the network had deployed many security tools, but education about how to avoid fake hotspots was lacking. In this particular case, a safe Wi-Fi session can only begin after SMS verification, which is something that not all travelers were aware of when connecting wirelessly. 

Contact Us to Secure Public Hotspots for Sake of Customers

White hats choose airports as their demo targets because they are busy networks that people, for the most part, expect to feel safe in while traveling. It is important to keep Wi-Fi hotspots secure for the sake of customers. To learn how this can be accomplished, contact us today.