Why you shouldn’t check your mail at the campus
Probably most mobile device users will use the free wifi opportunities, offered at many locations. Whether you are studying in the train, doing your groceries in the Albert Heijn, or having drinks with friends, on most locations you will have free wifi connections available. As earlier mentioned about the Albert Heijn on this blog, are companies capable to derive personal information via the wifi connection they are offering. What most users don’t realize when logging in, is the hackers who create a fake connection with the same name to misuse private information on your mobile device.
Technology and surveillance reporter Martijn went out, together with a hacker to check whether this is true. Together they visited two coffee bars where they hacked mobile devices with a €70 machine. His findings were astonishing, the hacker showed him information about someone’s bank account, business e-mails and even his Grindr profile (the popular gay-dating site). Linking this article to the current development of metadata theft makes it even more disturbing. Metadata, the facts about the number phonecalls you made yesterday, the number of messages send to friends (and which friends), but also the location of your phone on random moments. It is already known for a longer period that this type of data is distracted by many applications installed on most of the devices.
Does this frightening news lead to the fact that checking your email on the campus wifi is not safe anymore? Or paying a bill via your smartphone on the Rotterdam wifi will lead to large cash withdrawals by the end of the day in Bangladesh? According to the Ministry of Justice we shouldn‘t be too afraid but more alert about the applications on our devices. Most of the time the applications we install are taking so much data we wouldn’t even want to share with our neighbours. This metadata will be used by webshops and other retailers, or when you check your facebook, you will discover large banners with personal ads. This is how E-commerce is becoming even more private than your local stores