The RNC and Public Wi-Fi
How did they do?
LESS THAN TEN DAYS AGO, ON JULY 19, 2016, AVAST SOFTWARE published their data gleaned from a hack experiment conducted at various locations around the Republican National Convention site in Cleveland. Their purpose was to demonstrate how risky it can be to connect to public Wi-Fi. In business for more than 25 years, Avast Software is one of the pioneers in the computer security business.
More than 1,200 of the RNC attendees unknowingly connected to Avast’s bogus Wi-Fi hotspots outside the Republican National Convention. Keep in mind, this is just a sample of American use of mobile devices. Below, we’ll translate the data to the fact that today, 68% of U.S. adults have a smartphone, up from 35% in 2011, and tablet computer ownership has edged up to 45% among adults, according to newly released survey data from the Pew Research Center. The U.S. entered 2016 with an estimated population of 323 million people according to an end-of-year estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Thank goodness that Avast Software – maker of the world’s most trusted mobile and PC security – did the WiFi hack experiment to see how secure mobile device users were at the Republican National Convention.
The conclusion: they weren’t secure at all. They were easy picking for cyber-criminals. The experiment revealed that over a thousand convention attendees were negligent in their behavior when connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots: bogus hotspots created by Avast researchers.
Here are the data from the Avast survey, and the translated numbers for American smartphone users (68% of U.S. adults; that is 244 million). Adults are defined as 18 and older. Using just smart phone adult users, if the translations are even close to accurate, our exposure is shocking when using public WiFi hotspots in a care-free and random manner. For example:
- 6.5% shopped on Amazon (translates to 16 million, U.S. adult population)
- 1.2% accessed a banking app or banking websites: BankofAmerica.com, USBank.com, or WellsFargo.com (translates to 2.9 million, U.S. adult population)
- 4.2% visited government domains or websites (translates to 10.2 million, U.S. adult population)
- 5.1% played Pokemon Go (translates to 12.4 million, U.S. adult population)
- 0.7% used dating apps like Tinder, Grindr, OKCupid, Match and Meetup (translates to 1.7 million, U.S. adult population)
- 0.24% visited pornography sites like Pornhub.com (translates to 580,000, U.S. adult population)
The cyber-criminals have literally millions of U.S. targets (victims) to choose from. No wonder identity theft and cyber-robbery are both skyrocketing and costing us at least tens of millions of dollars each year. We don’t want you to see your privacy invaded and/or your bank account drop from $10,000 to ten dollars.
How can we protect ourselves?
According to Avast, it is important to know how to stay safe when connecting. When joining public Wi-Fi, consumers should utilize a VPN service that makes their data anonymous while connecting to public hotspots. VPN service also ensures that their connection is secure.
VPN, or virtual private network, is a network that is constructed by using public wires — usually the Internet — to connect to a private network, such as a company's internal network.
At Garner IT Consulting, We Want You to be Safe
We believe that the information posted above is important for our friends, neighbors, clients, and citizens of Panama City, Bay County, and northwest Florida. Let’s not make it easy for cyber-criminals. If you have questions, please contact us.
We care about you and your security, whether that security involves your business or your personal life. For all of your computer security needs, we invite you to give us a call at 850.250.3210 or drop by our offices at 1330 Harrison Avenue, Panama City, Florida. At Garner IT Consulting, we’ll give you a warm welcome and provide a free consultation regarding your computer management, maintenance, and security needs. We’ll make you safe, secure, and efficient.
Best wishes, Randall and Julie Garner, and the entire Garner IT team of professionals
This post first appeared on Garner IT Consulting's Blog - Panama City, Florida, please read the originial post: here