Mobile security outfit Skycure claims that visitors to the former capital of Brazil are being targeted by hackers who have set up fake Wi-Fi hotspots designed to steal information from connected devices.
These phony wireless networks were spotted by Skycure around the city, but they were most prominent in locations where travelers were most likely to look for a place to connect, like shopping malls, well-known coffee shops, and hotels.
Anyone taking the Rio Metro may also be at risk when connecting to the complimentary Wi-Fi offered by the city in partnership with IT giant Cisco.
Rio Galeão Airport, the international hub for the Olympics, was found to host many networks that are capable of decrypting Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) traffic—undoing a protocol put in place to keep data protected.
Skycure every piece of data that is transmitted via the Wi-Fi network could be compromised. The information is even accessible to a hacker connected to the network “while the device is still in user’s pocket or purse and is not actively being used.”
Unsecure hotspots are dangerous enough for those connecting to them, but Skycure pointed out that fake networks aren’t difficult to set up.
Skycure found a network named “_RIO GALEAO WIFI” located 12 miles from the airport. The company theorized it to be a rogue access point configured to take advantage of people coming from the airport who used the public Wi-Fi.
Another security outfit, Kaspersky found that 18 percent of the available networks in the area were insecure and openly configured—meaning all data sent and received on the networks is not protected by any encryption access key. Another 7 percent were protected by an obsolete security method that can be cracked with relative ease. In other words, about a quarter of all Wi-Fi networks available around the Olympics are insecure or vulnerable.