As Los Angeles and hundreds of other communities push to turn themselves into massive wireless hotspots, unsuspecting Internet users are stumbling onto hacker turf, giving computer thieves nearly effortless access to their laptops and private information, reports the Los Angeles Times. It’s an invasion with a twist: People who think they are signing on to the Internet through a wireless hotspot might actually be connecting to a look-alike network, created by a malicious user who can steal sensitive information.
It is not clear how many people have been victimized, and few suspects have been charged with Wi-Fi hacking. But Bickers said that over the last couple of years, these hacking techniques have become increasingly common, and are often undetectable. The risk is especially high at cafes, hotels and airports, busy places with heavy turnover of laptop users, authorities said.