A recently conducted experiment exposing the level of disregard smartphone users have for security managed to prove that people in London are ready to give away their first child for using Wi-Fi for free.
The Finish security company F-Secure established a Wi-Fi hotspot in the business district of Canary Wharf for providing free access to the internet and find out how many people in the city agrees to its “Herod Clause”.
Within just 30 minutes of making this offer available, as many as 33 individuals tried to connect the security firm and out of them six (most probably unwittingly) said that they are ready to give away their first born for any span of time.
Here, it must be noted that this offer from F-Secure was just an experiment; the security firm has already disabled the network and has no plans of enforcing the contract. The company when speaking about this experiment told that the hotspot helps them in identifying devices, taking passwords and usernames and reading emails.
Sean Sullivan, a security advisor at F-Secure, informed that Wi-Fi services that are made available for free are mostly unsecure. Sullivan added that open and free Wi-Fi has not been designed for users of the current generation; she added that such services keep on leaking personal information of users to individuals whom they don’t know and also collect data that users don’t want third parties to get access to.
The report prepared based on the results of the experiment has been named “tainted love: How Wi-Fi betrays us”. This report holds great importance, and one of the biggest evidence of its significance is the endorsement by the Information Commissioner’s Office.
What is the biggest revelation made by the experiment? One thing that the experiment proved successfully is that the majority of the people using internet on their smartphones don’t care about the security of their personal information.
Cybercrime specialist Troels Oerting, who is also the Assistant Director of Europol, said that while there are numerous criminals who effectively take advantage of the high demand for free Wi-Fi services by hacking systems, there are also many who develop their own Wi-Fi hotspots with the intent to attract users to sign up for free internet.
Oerting added that it has been found that the majority of these hotspots come with very low level of security. As a result, criminals don’t need setting up a service of their own anymore; looking into other services offering Wi-Fi for free allows them to complete their job successfully.
One question that might be bothering you now is why F-secure carried out such an experiment. The security firm conducted the experiment to advertise Freedome, a security tool that works by creating an encrypted and secure connection and blocking tracking attempts.