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1 in 4 Wi-Fi hotspots just waiting to be hacked- Kaspersky Lab

Dubai, 22nd March 2017

After analyzing information on more than 31 million Wi-Fi hotspots around the world, Kaspersky Lab has found that every fourth (28%) is unsecured and poses a risk to users’ personal data. That means all the traffic transmitted over those networks, including personal messages, passwords, documents and much more, can be easily intercepted and used by attackers.

According to Kaspersky Security Network[1], 25% of the world’s Wi-Fi networks have no encryption or password protection of any kind. In other words, the information they transmit is completely open and can be read by third parties. Another 3% of hotspots use WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) to encrypt data. This unreliable protocol can be “cracked” within minutes using tools that are freely available on the Internet.

The rest of the nearly three-quarters of Wi-Fi hotspots use a more reliable form of encryption based on the family of Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) protocols. The effort required to hack these networks depends on the settings, including the strength of the password. For instance, if it’s a weak or publicly accessible password (e.g., on display in a cafe), a criminal will also be able to decrypt any transmitted traffic.

It’s worth noting that the top 20 countries with the highest percentage of non-encrypted Wi-Fi hotspots includes many popular tourist destinations – Thailand, France, Israel, the US and so on. Travelers are among the most vulnerable because the nearest available Wi-Fi hotspot is often the only way for them to stay connected. At the same time, another study suggests only 52% of Internet users in the UAE are concerned about their data being intercepted during a Wi-Fi session.

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“We advise all users to remain vigilant when connecting to Wi-Fi. Don’t use hotspots without passwords and don’t use public hotspots to perform high-risk activities such as online banking or shopping, logging on to sites or for transferring confidential information. If that sort of traffic is intercepted by a third party, it could result in serious losses, including financial losses. And of course, we strongly recommend using additional measures to protect traffic, such as VPN (Virtual Private Network) technology,” explains Denis Legezo, Antivirus Expert at Kaspersky Lab.

The flagship solutions Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Total Security now integrate the new Secure Connection feature that encrypts all data sent and received over a communication channel. Depending on the user settings, Secure Connection can be run automatically when attempting to connect to an unsecured network, or when performing potentially vulnerable operations online.

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About Kaspersky Lab
Kaspersky Lab is one of the world’s fastest-growing cybersecurity companies and the largest that is privately owned. The company is ranked among the world’s top four vendors of security solutions for endpoint users (IDC, 2014). Since 1997 Kaspersky Lab has been an innovator in cybersecurity and provides effective digital security solutions and threat intelligence for large enterprises, SMBs and consumers. Kaspersky Lab is an international company, operating in almost 200 countries and territories across the globe, providing protection for over 400 million users worldwide.

Learn more at www.kaspersky.com.

[1]  Kaspersky Security Network is a complex cloud-enabled distributed infrastructure that automatically processes huge amounts of depersonalized cybersecurity-related data in order to ensure the quickest reaction times to new and advanced threats.

For further information please contact: Baseem Ayache, Associate Manager, Golin, Dubai: +971 55 3966449

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