Hacker Busted for 'Evil Twin' Wi-Fi That Steals Airline Passenger Data

Australian cops arrest man found with a portable Wi-Fi access device in his carry-on luggage, allegedly used for standing up scam Wi-Fi networks on flights.

Dark Reading Staff, Dark Reading

July 3, 2024

1 Min Read
Airline passengers using Wi-Fi
Source: Josu Ozkaritz via Alamy

Australian authorities are urging travelers to use caution when signing onto public Wi-Fi access networks, following the arrest of a man accused of using malicious network access to steal data during a domestic airline flight.

Airline employees were tipped off after discovering a suspicious Wi-Fi network during a flight, according to Australian police. Once the flight landed in Perth, a 42-year-old man from West Australia was found with a mobile access device, laptop, and mobile phone in his luggage.

Police say he used these devices during the flight to stand up fraudulent Wi-Fi access points, luring unsuspecting passengers to log on and enter personal information, including email addresses and social media credentials. An investigation turned up evidence of similar cybercrime activity at airports in Melbourne, Adelaide, and other locations, law enforcement added.

“To connect to a free WiFi network, you shouldn't have to enter any personal details — such as logging in through an email or social media account,” according to a statement from Andrea Colman, an Australian AFP cybercrime detective inspector. "If you do want to use public WiFi hotspots, install a reputable virtual private network on your devices to encrypt and secure your data when using the Internet."

Coleman further advised people to disable Wi-Fi on mobile devices when in public to prevent it from automatically connecting to a potentially malicious hotspot.

"When using a public network, disable file sharing, don't do anything sensitive — such as banking — while connected to it and once you finish using it, change your device settings to 'forget network,'" Coleman added.

In the meantime, the suspect faces nine separate cybercrime charges, police said.

About the Author(s)

Dark Reading Staff

Dark Reading

Dark Reading is a leading cybersecurity media site.

Keep up with the latest cybersecurity threats, newly discovered vulnerabilities, data breach information, and emerging trends. Delivered daily or weekly right to your email inbox.

You May Also Like

More Insights