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  • Scammers are using fake WiFi hotspots to steal your identity.
  • The fake WiFi hotspot names look almost exactly like the real one, and the same password is used.


A growing number of fake WiFi hotpots are being set up in South Africa to spread malware that can infect your laptop or phone to steal your identity.

According to Kevin Hogan, fraud and risk manager at Investec, the fake WiFi name will look exactly like the WiFi name of the internet café, airport or coffee shop, but with a slight alteration. The hacker’s WiFi will use the same password as the official hotspot. 

The hackers are after your username and password. Once you have inadvertently logged on to the hackers' WiFi spot your particulars can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

Scammers have also started to set up fake USB charging ports in public phone charging areas that are able to access the information on your laptop or cellphone. Hogan was speaking at an economic crimes conference held in Johannesburg this week.

He warned that once hackers get a hold of your identity it is a long and painful process to regain control, and getting funds back once hackers have stolen your money.

Hogan warned against using personal information in passwords like the names of your children or cats and dog’s names. Hackers go through social media profiles to find birthdates and information pertaining to your workplace to impersonate you. Documents such as your ID and pay-slip can easily be used to then set up accounts or divert funds from your personal or business accounts. 

Also, don’t use your social media profiles to log into other accounts.

“Once the hackers get hold of your Google or Facebook username and password, they are often able to access a lot of potentially very damaging information,” Hogan said.

Apps are also not secure. Hogan cited incidences where apps offered in the Google Play store have malware embedded in them to capture usernames and passwords on your phone. 

Mobile users should always use second tier verification and change their passwords often. Passphrases containing at least 15 digits including numbers and symbols are the best and easiest to remember.  An example would be: BusinessInsiderisgreat@2018.

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