Date
22 January 2017
Mobile users may have their private information stolen if they access malicious free WiFi networks in public places. Photo: Bloomberg
Mobile users may have their private information stolen if they access malicious free WiFi networks in public places. Photo: Bloomberg

Mobile users face higher security risks with auto-WiFi settings

Mobile users are more prone to theft of private information, including their phone books, emails, instant messages and browsing data, if they always open their handsets to public WiFi networks, according to an antivirus company.

In a six-hour test in Central, Admiralty, Wan Chai, Quarry Bay, Kwun Tong and Sham Shui Po early this month, F-Secure, a Finland-based antivirus company, detected 1,260 people who opened WiFi on their mobile phones.

Among them, 55 percent or 687 people accessed a WiFi network that the company set up in the name of several public places, the Hong Kong Economic Journal said in a report on Wednesday.

“Some mobile users always adopt an auto-WiFi mode to gain access to whatever free WiFi network is available on the street,” said Sam Lee Lik-hang, F-Security director for Greater China.

But many of them are unaware that they face higher internet security risks as there are people who try to steal private information by luring their targets to access free WiFi networks with fake names that look reliable, he said.

Lee suggests mobile phone users turn off their WiFi settings after leaving public places like coffee shops and restaurants and regularly remove the history of WiFi networks on their phones.

[Chinese version中文版]

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