Holiday WiFi Scams: Hackers Can Now Target USB Charging Points

Business Insights

As we head into the holiday season, many of us will be travelling, whether it's to visit family, explore new destinations, or simply take a much-needed break. In our increasingly connected world, staying online while on holiday has become almost a necessity. But with this convenience comes the risk of holiday WiFi scams. 

Cyber expert Craig Campbell warns,

“Public WiFi networks are a goldmine for cybercriminals looking to steal your personal information.”

To help you stay safe, here’s a comprehensive guide on how to avoid these scams.

Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network)

A VPN is your first line of defence when using public WiFi. It encrypts your internet connection, making it much harder for hackers to intercept your data. Craig Campbell recommends using a reputable VPN service whenever you connect to public WiFi. This is especially important for any activities involving sensitive information, such as online banking or shopping.

Verify the Network

Before you connect to any public WiFi network, verify its authenticity. Cybercriminals often set up fake networks with names similar to legitimate ones, hoping to trick unsuspecting users. If you’re in a hotel or café, ask an employee for the exact name of the WiFi network and the login details.

Avoid Accessing Sensitive Information

Even with a VPN, it's wise to avoid accessing sensitive information on public WiFi networks. Campbell advises,

“If you must check your bank account or make an online purchase, use your mobile data instead of public WiFi.”

This reduces the risk of your information being intercepted.

Keep Your Software Updated

Ensure that your device’s operating system, apps, and antivirus software are all up to date. Cybercriminals exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software to gain access to your device. Regular updates patch these vulnerabilities and provide better protection against potential threats.

Disable Automatic Connections

Many devices are set to automatically connect to available WiFi networks. This convenience can be a security risk. Disable this feature on your device to prevent it from connecting to untrusted networks without your knowledge.

Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Enable two-factor authentication on your accounts whenever possible. 2FA adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification, such as a code sent to your phone, in addition to your password. This makes it more difficult for hackers to access your accounts even if they manage to steal your login credentials.

Monitor Your Accounts

Regularly monitor your bank accounts and credit cards for any suspicious activity. Early detection of unauthorised transactions can help you take immediate action to mitigate any damage. Set up alerts to notify you of any unusual activity.

Be Cautious with Public Charging Stations

Public charging stations can also pose a risk, a practice known as “juice jacking.” Malicious actors can install malware on your device through these charging points. To avoid this, carry your own charger and use a power outlet instead of a USB port, or use a USB data blocker.

Use Secure Websites

When browsing the internet, ensure that the websites you visit are secure. Look for “https” at the beginning of the URL and a padlock icon in the address bar. This indicates that the website uses encryption to protect your data.

Educate Yourself and Stay Informed

Cybersecurity is an ever-evolving field, and staying informed about the latest threats and best practices is crucial. Follow cybersecurity experts like Craig Campbell and trusted sources to keep up with new developments and tips for staying safe online.

Craig Campbell, cybersecurity expert says:

While public WiFi can be convenient, it also comes with significant risks. By following these tips from Craig Campbell, you can protect yourself from holiday WiFi scams and enjoy a safe, worry-free holiday season. Safe travels and stay secure!