The vast majority of the population enjoys public Wi-Fi. The problem is that most people are ignorant of the many threats that come with using Wi-Fi in such places.
There’s a great possibility that if you're not careful, some smartphones could automatically connect to a hackers hotspot, without your knowledge.
As revealed by Barbara Jones doesn't leave home without her phone. Most of us can attest to the fact that we often leave our Wi-Fi open, which was the case with Jones.
"I never did mess with it because I would automatically connect once I got home and never thought of turning it off," Jones said. She was completely ignorant of the vulnerability that she was exposed to. "It automatically connected to an impersonation Wi-Fi, and I didn't do anything," Jones told us.
The data in her phone could have been easily compromised by a 'man in the middle' attack. Both Android and iPhone, I.T. Expert and forensic investigator Colman Ryan says it doesn't matter what phone you have, because hackers can take advantage of a popular public Wi-Fi network.
"They're impersonating the AT&T Wi-Fi network," Ryan explained. The cellphones using AT&T are preprogrammed to automatically connect to the company's public Wi-Fi network labeled "attwifi."
Unfortunately, Ryan says there are hackers out there creating their own Wi-Fi hotspots, labeling them "attwifi." They're banking on your device to connect to their network to capture your information. "The attackers want your email credentials because we have so much valuable information stored in our email or in our iCloud or Gmail drive," Ryan said.
You’re advised to go into your phone's settings and turn off the auto join function. This can only be done when you connect to an actual attwifi network. Ryan also says one should protect their accounts by enabling 2-step verification on all accounts that allow that option. Also, make sure you turn off the Wi-Fi on your phone anytime you go out in public.
On the same note, AT&T issued a statement saying:"We work hard to educate customers on how to keep their device and personal information safe. We encourage customers to visit our Cyber Aware website, which offers security tips on a variety of topics, including safe Wi-Fi use."