Kaspersky Lab warns that 7,176 of 32,000 public Wi-Fi networks at FIFA World Cup 2018 host cities are potentially unsafe for use by visiting football fans due to non-encryption of traffic.
Kaspersky warns that based on its result, it is warning fans to secure their personal data, especially while using open Wi-Fi connections around the FIFA World Cup games.
Such global events result in a concentration of people connecting to networks to upload posts the technology security company says adding that these networks can be used to transfer financial and other valuable information across the Internet that third parties can intercept and use for their own purposes.
Kaspersky Lab’s findings are based on an analysis of public Wi-Fi spots in 11 FIFA World Cup 2018 host cities, including Saransk, Samara, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Volgograd, Moscow, Ekaterinburg, Sochi, Rostov, Kaliningrad, and Saint Petersburg, according to the technology company.
“FIFA World Cup 2018 has confirmed that the event itself is secure – but users should be aware that clearly its host cities’ public Wi-Fi hotspots are often not.”
“The results shows that so far not all wireless access points have encryption and authentication algorithms – aspects that are essential for Wi-Fi networks to remain secure. This means that hackers only need to be located near an access point to intercept network traffic and get confidential information from unwitting or unprepared users”, Kaspersky says.
The findings noted that the three cities with the highest percentage of unreliable Wi-Fi networks are Saint Petersburg (37%), Kaliningrad (35%), and Rostov (32%) while the safest places were small towns like Saransk (only 10% of Wi-Fi spots are open), and Samara (17% of Wi-Fi spots are open) as nearly two-thirds of all public Wi-Fi networks in these locations use the Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA/WPA2) protocol family for traffic encryption, a protocol which is considered to be one of the most secure for Wi-Fi use.
Kaspersky said that the reliable WPA/WPA2 networks are not completely secure as they can allow brute-force and dictionary attacks, as well as key reinstallation attacks.
Denis Legezo, the Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab explained that the absence of traffic encryption coupled with large-scale events like the FIFA World Cup makes wireless Wi-Fi networks a target for criminals who want quick access to user data.
“Despite about two-thirds of all access points in FIFA World Cup host cities using encryption based on the most secure Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA/WPA2) protocol family, even these access points can’t be considered secure if the password is visible to everyone. Our research shows, once again, that cybersecurity involves addressing not just certain aspects, but the entire infrastructure. FIFA World Cup 2018 has confirmed that the event itself is secure – but users should be aware that clearly its host cities’ public Wi-Fi hotspots are often not”, he adds.
Kaspersky tells fans who visits the FIFA World Cup 2018 host cities and use open Wi-Fi networks to follow certain rules to keep their personal data safe ,these rules include :connect via a Virtual Private Network (VPN). With a VPN, encrypted traffic is transmitted over a protected tunnel, as criminals won’t be able to read your data, even if they gain access to it. Kaspersky Secure Connection VPN solution can switch on automatically when a connection is not safe.
Kaspersky warns that networks that are not password-protected, or have easy-to-guess or easy-to-find passwords should not be trusted as users need to be vigilant if a network requests a strong password as fraudsters can find out the network password at a coffee shop, for example, and then create a fake connection with the same password. This allows them to easily steal personal user data. Fans should only trust network names and passwords given to them by employees of the establishment.
To maximize one’s protection, Kaspersky says that Wi-Fi connection should be turned off whenever it is not in use. This will also save the battery life and disabling automatic connection is recommended to existing Wi-Fi networks.
“To avoid being a target for cybercriminals, you should enable the “always use a secure connection” (HTTPS) option in your device settings. Enabling this option is recommended when visiting any website you think may lack the necessary protection”, Kaspersky adds.