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Users of public wi-fi may have had personal details stolen

If you use public wi-fi systems, you should read this.

Image: Free WiFi message board via Shutterstock

PEOPLE WHO USED wi-fi in public areas such as hotels may have had their details stolen due to security flaws, an Irish firm has warned.

Cork-based IT firm Smarttech.ie said that they had discovered “serious flaws” in cyber security measures after visiting 10 hotels in October and November.

They say that finding the flaws took “minimal” effort.

Smarttech say that they “wanted to demonstrate just how dangerous using unencrypted logins and passwords across a public network can be”.

Over the course of these security tests however, Smarttech.ie soon realised that the level of security being provided was a serious problem. In addition, they say that users seemed “completely oblivious to the dangers of using public wi-fi”.

The company carried out tests on public wi-fi systems and spotted flaws within 20 minutes.

They were then able to access users’ information, including email logins, credit card details, social media passwords and banking information.

In some cases, networks were accessed from outside the hotels.

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Smart-tech says that they informed all of the hotels and made recommendations on how to close the gaps.

They added that anyone who operates a network should be aware of the security on their network. Under EU law, it is the duty of the premises supplying the network to ensure that the network is secure.

According to Ronan Murphy, CEO of Smarttech.ie, “Consumers need to be aware that if you are accessing public wi-fi there are serious security challenges. The tests we carried out prove that these risks affect anyone using public Wi-Fi. However there are steps that hotels and restaurants can take to secure their Wi-Fi service and therefore protect their customers”.

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