Many users know that public WLAN hotspots are unsuitable for handling sensitive data, but most do not seem worried. However, a Wi-Fi hotspot is one of the means hackers use to access phone users’ information – bank cards, passwords, etc. So that’s the answer for those asking can you hack a phone via hotspot?
It all depends on what the spy or hacker wants to do, but it is possible. Any device connected to the network is vulnerable, regardless of how difficult it is for the phone to be spied on or hacked. For example, you can capture all the network traffic coming from the cell phone or carry out a phishing attack, among other things.
This article will provide more information for phone users who want to learn how to protect their mobile phones while connecting to a hotspot. The article can also be utilized for educational purposes.
How a phone can be spied on via hotspot
When in a public space (in a cinema, hotel lodge, or plane), we like to search for and choose a hotspot based on its Wi-Fi quality, recognized Wi-Fi name, or we all like to connect to any unprotected hotspot. However, this serves as an excellent cover for spies and hackers. They can set up malicious or fake Wi-Fi hotspots within some minutes and spy on your information.
Daniel Markuson, an expert in digital data security at NordVPN, managed to speak to hackers in anonymous online forums about the vulnerabilities in insecure public Wi-Fi, and the hackers gave concrete insights into their approach.
Simple software is enough for WLAN spying
Bad router configuration and insecure passwords make public Wi-Fi hotspots prone to spying.
Usually, the attackers would use relatively simple and legally available software. The hackers cite Aircrack-ng and Wireshark as some software used to spy via Wi-Fi hotspots. According to them, spying on sensitive information from connected devices with this software takes just a couple of minutes.
Common cyber attacks that can be carried out on Wi-Fi networks
The most common types of cyberattacks that can be carried out on insecure Wi-Fi networks are:
Called a Man-in-the-middle attack, this is a type of attack whereby the hacker can read, insert and modify the messages exchanged between two people without them knowing that their communication has been breached.
In the case of a public Wi-Fi network, the hacker has it quite easy because the access point is unencrypted and can be used as an intermediary. This means that you do not know that a hacker is intercepting you and that this can send you a fake website.
Since data is not encrypted, doing something as simple as checking your bank statement or sending an email using public Wi-Fi can give a hacker keys, passwords, and your data to use to their advantage.
A variant of the MITM we’ve seen before, an Evil Twin is a Wi-Fi hotspot that looks secure and legitimate. However, it connects you directly to a server controlled by a hacker or group of hackers. It’s an equivalent to Phishing that we often see in emails.
Using an Evil Twin, a hacker can make you believe that you are connected to a secure site and only have to wait for you to enter some private information to steal it.
How do you identify it? For example, if you turn on the Wi-Fi in a bar or store on your mobile you see two networks with very similar names. Indeed, one of them is the Evil Twin. The best thing is to use a VPN directly, a virtual private network that ‘protects’ you from the hacker since all the data he can intercept will be sealed.
This is a program for capturing the frames of a computer network. Packet sniffers have a variety of uses, such as monitoring networks for and analyzing failures, reverse engineering network protocols, or detecting hackers using them for malicious purposes.
Given their possibilities, these usually use sniffer packs to steal passwords, intercept emails, spy on chat conversations, etc. For example, it can capture passwords sent and user names on the spot.
This is a double-edged sword since these programs are not illegal, but they can be used for purposes that make them illegal. In this case, once again, the best protection is to have good encryption such as the one that a VPN offers. You should also note that the websites you enter your data use SSL/TSL type certificates and secure communication protocols such as HTTPS.
Side jacking is a technique that allows an attacker to ‘sniff’ cookies from websites that a user has been opening and use them on websites, thus supplanting the identity of the victim. In other words, if you are, for example, chatting in a cyber café or connected to a public Wi-Fi, the hacker can ‘hijack the session’ by tracking the cookies that websites use for logins and gain control of it. With this, he has a free hand to see what you have been doing, especially if they are bank transfers or access to emails and Skype-type programs.
In itself, a hacker cannot read the passwords entered using the side jacking technique, but he can use malware to obtain them. If you have no choice but to enter personal data, the best option is to make sure that you are on a website with the HTTPS protocol or use a VPN.
Tempting, faster, and above all FREE. This is what you feel when you see that sign that says “Free Wi-Fi” in a residential or public place, be it an airport, a coffee shop, or a clothing store.
Not using public Wi-Fi is better and using mobile data is advisable. However, if there is no other choice, you should be extremely careful and avoid disclosing sensitive data while using a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Hackers are again trying to get onto the smartphones of unsuspecting users with fake Wi-Fi hotspots. They use a gap in the security concept of WLAN connections to do this.