CCTV report shows public Wi-Fi connections are unsafe

CCTV report shows public Wi-Fi connections are unsafe

Staff Reporter


Wireless internet connections may have considerable hidden security threats, according to a report by China’s state broadcaster CCTV that suggested some free Wi-Fi hotspots in public places such as train stations and coffee shops might allow the private information of internet users to be stolen easily without them being aware of it.

Chinese media outlets had reported earlier that a woman was swindled out of 2,000 yuan (US$320) after connecting to a free Wi-Fi hotspot.

CCTV and engineers from security software company Kingsoft carried out an experiment by setting up two free Wi-Fi hotspots as bait in crowded areas where no password was required to connect.

The hotspots had soon attracted dozens of connections from users of smartphones, tablet computers and personal computers. These people’s every move on the internet was monitored closely and their private data including account information on chat service WeChat, shopping website Taobao and microblogging service Weibo could be captured.

Worse still, it is not considered safe even to log on to the internet using one’s own wireless router at home.

Zhao Yu, a Kingsoft engineer, said hackers can crack the Wi-Fi code of people using wireless internet at home and steal account and password information at the backend of routers and take control of the devices. Once they implanted a backdoor program in the routers, hackers were able to steal the owners’ information.

The majority of internet users never changed their password, making it easier for hackers, said Li Tiejun, a Kingsoft engineer.

The company’s engineers suggested people should be cautious while connecting to Wi-Fi hotspots in public areas and avoid shopping online or logging on to their bank accounts through public connections.

They also advised that users turn off their Wi-Fi settings to prevent their devices from linking to hotspots automatically, as well as making sure their passwords are as difficult as possible to crack. They recommended that all smartphones and computers be installed with security software.



About bambooinnovator
KB Kee is the Managing Editor of the Moat Report Asia (, a research service focused exclusively on highlighting undervalued wide-moat businesses in Asia; subscribers from North America, Europe, the Oceania and Asia include professional value investors with over $20 billion in asset under management in equities, some of the world’s biggest secretive global hedge fund giants, and savvy private individual investors who are lifelong learners in the art of value investing. KB has been rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as an analyst in Asian capital markets. He was head of research and fund manager at a Singapore-based value investment firm. As a member of the investment committee, he helped the firm’s Asia-focused equity funds significantly outperform the benchmark index. He was previously the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. KB has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy, value investing, macroeconomic and industry trends, and detecting accounting frauds in Singapore, HK and China. KB was a faculty (accounting) at SMU teaching accounting courses. KB is currently the Chief Investment Officer at an ASX-listed investment holdings company since September 2015, helping to manage the listed Asian equities investments in the Hidden Champions Fund. Disclaimer: This article is for discussion purposes only and does not constitute an offer, recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell any investments, securities, futures or options. All articles in the website reflect the personal opinions of the writer.

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