Public Wi-Fi networks not Secure for Sensitive Data sharing or Transferring Funds – Annamalai

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Public Wi-Fi networks not Secure for Sensitive Data sharing or Transferring Funds – Annamalai

Pics By Prasanna Kodavoor, Team Mangalorean

Manipal: The Public Wi-Fi networks — at the hotel lobby, Airport, Railway stations, in the spa, at the poolside or inside shopping malls — are not at all secure for official work, sensitive data sharing or transferring funds said K Annamalai superintendent of Police Chikmagalauru. He was speaking at the extramural lecture series, to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Manipal Institute of Technology here on Saturday, April 1.

The biggest threat to the public Wi-Fi security is the ability for the hacker to position himself between the user and the connection point. So instead of talking directly to the Wi-Fi network, users are sending key information to the hacker who then relays it on.

Hackers have time and again demonstrated that breaking into public Wi-Fi networks is very easy. In fact, hackers often use public Wi-Fi networks for the purposes of hacking into confidential information and data of users who log into these Wi-Fi networks without understanding the cybersecurity ramifications of the same.

Open Wi-Fi networks are generally unencrypted because the user doesn’t have to enter a passphrase key when connecting. While working in this setup, the hacker has access to every piece of information the users are sending out on the internet — important emails, credit card information and even security credentials to users business network. But prevention being the better option, every user need to protect himself from the omnipresent scamsters, he said.

The cellphone is most vulnerable to cyber crime. Referring to the international transactions that happened on March 31, which is around 6.2 crore, the officer said that the money involved is 30 trillion dollars. The recent threat is Ransomware, wherein the big bankers’ data is hijacked. He added social engineering is another major threat that has already stepped into the nerves of the data world.

Ranging from obscenities spread on social media to content aimed at tarnishing the image of an individual and online frauds, the nature of the crimes differ. The police have to adopt a multi-pronged approach to tackle these. Detection of cyber crimes is a challenge before the police as the culprits operate from different parts of the world. Despite the United States being a technological power, the US presidential elections were hacked by criminals.

Theory suggests we are living in supposedly the safest part of human history. We still have the sceptre of Terrorism, state-sponsored violence, war by other means rearing its head. International treaties, Multinational, Regional and Sub-regional understanding of nationals are forcing state agent and non-state agents to experiment with different tools.

With the advent of the internet, the world has become very small and one can get any kind of information within a minute. At the same time, the internet has created many disadvantages. The Internet is a double-edged sword. To avert cyber crimes in Karnataka the state government has created 8 cyber crime squad zones across the state, he added.

Earlier Ashish Gujral Chief Market Strategist of CNBC – TV 18 also delivered a talk on How Brand MIT Grooms Entrepreneurs. After the talk an interactive session was held.

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1 Comment

  1. As long as the online transaction uses Secure Sockets Layer protocol – SSL (i.e. the url/website that you are using starts with https://), it does not matter whether one uses public wifi or private. SSL uses public key cryptography which is extreeeeeeeeeeeemly hard to break. But you have to ensure that the certificate being used by the browser for the transaction is valid. Chrome/IE normally warns you if it isn’t.

    It is another matter one has to be wary of using public internet kiosks to use secure transaction because those machines may have the malicious software installed such as key loggers, trojans etc. which can silently capture your bank account details, passwords etc. as you type.

    I personally don’t get concerned about using SSL-based websites from my smart phone to do banking whether I am using a public wifi or private. Also don’t be under the wrong impression that your private wifi is any more safe. If you google, there are many ways to hack your home wifi too. In fact most of the home routers have the default, factory set user name and password (which people are too lazy to change) which any man on the street can log in to and change the passphrase.

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