As data roaming charges for cell phones are generally very expensive, many travelers to the World Cup in Brazil will probably just opt to use free Wi-Fi access points, and probably not give much thought to security issues. This is a very risky approach, however, because all the data that is sent or received on open Wi-Fi networks could be intercepted. Passwords, PINs and other sensitive data could also fall into the hands of cybercriminals if public charging stations are used – in Brazil these publically available chargers may be malicious.
Kaspersky Lab security experts conducted research into Wi-Fi access in São Paulo. They drove 100 km around the city and checked out more than 5,000 different access points popular among tourists – parks, malls, airports and other attractions. As a result of the study, it turned out that 26% of the 5,000 open Wi-Fi networks in São Paolo don’t use any encryption.
With this in mind, the company’s experts prepared a list of recommendations for those travelling to São Paolo for the 2014 World Cup:
A malicious AC/DC charger in Brazil will still charge your battery, but at the same time it can silently steal information from your smartphone. The interception will happen via a USB connection, as the majority of plugs use this type of connection. In some cases these fake chargers can also install malware capable of tracking your location, stealing notes, contacts, pictures, messages as well as call records, saved passwords and even browser cookies.
Dmitry Bestuzhev, Kaspersky Lab’s Head of Global Research and Analysis Team in Latin America, commented: “Malicious AC/DC charging points are a real danger for those travelling to big events and new destinations. Cybercriminals know that when people are away from home and need their smartphones to access maps, routes and all other kinds of information, they tend to use any available charger, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Keep in mind that you could fall victim and lose sensitive personal data. The same applies to Wi-Fi, especially if you look for open access points when you want to post pictures, locations and send messages. Your sensitive data can be easily intercepted by cybercriminals, so take appropriate security measures.”
More information can be found at securelist.com.