Editorials

41% using publicly available Wi-Fi surveyed say they were compromised while traveling

Here’s an interesting piece at Forbes indicating that 41% of all travelers who used public Wi-Fi found their information was compromised in one form or another. The obvious solution is of course to use a VPN so that third parties can’t steal session cookies, or heavens forbid POP3 info, but you know how that goes.

I’ve kept reading this for the past couple of days because this just feels wrong in an era when all transactions online are HTTPS and fewer and fewer people I know are the victims of account compromise due to multi-factor authentication, HTTPS everywhere, multi-factor all the things!. Maybe that’s just my user base however. This article gave me the wrong feels.

The Forbes piece gives plenty of charts to indicate perceived safeness and actual and overall it read good but I kept wondering how these 41% of travelers determined that it was the publicly available Wi-Fi that was the compromise and not their spyware infested work computer that’s been relaying screenshots every 20 seconds to hackers in France (or pick any country directly on the other side of the world from your current travel destination,) who were just waiting for a time when they knew their mark was going to be unreachable via cell phone for a bit.

You don’t generally run a survey of any group who was hacked in one way or another and get more than two or three who can trace exactly where that compromise occurred.

Here’s a bit of info – if someone can delay compromising your accounts to a holiday (when you’re more likely to travel,) they will because it takes so much longer to actually get a human in the fraud department to do anything. Lemme tell you about the check forger who cashed $5000 in checks in my name one day and how I learned all those “bank local, the tellers will know your signature” memes were BS.

The article also includes that 66% of respondents used a VPN which would lead to the conclusion that if you’re using public Wi-Fi… 66% + 41%… you’re 107% going to get hacked.

I’m being silly there, but it indicates there’s a crossover between people using VPN and people who are compromised while traveling. Probably those with malware infested work computers that had nothing to do with the Wi-Fi they were on.

The story has three VPNs as featured partners, NordVPN, SurfShark, and Private Internet Access. If the rates are still the same Forbes get roughly half of your subscription price as a bounty. BTW, I’m no longer doing anything selling VPNs but if you’re looking PIA has been wonderful for split-tunnel networks which is what I need.

I use Google One’s VPN when I connect to unknown networks just because it’s easy and included with my Google One subscription… don’t know the network, bam it’s on. I use PIA when traveling because Google’s doesn’t encrypt when the phone thinks it’s connected to T-Mobile towers… yeah, no… let’s leave it at I’ve lived in a neighborhood where law enforcement worked to remove organized crime.

So I’m interested here… I’m not calling that Forbes article an advert for VPNs with a very odd compromised member base, but have you ever been hacked or compromised that you could trace back to a public Wi-Fi?

[Forbes]
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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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