Threat of computer hackers during NATO summit

May 17, 2012 3:15:38 PM PDT
There is concern that computer hackers will be active during the NATO summit. Big companies could be targets, but smartphone and tablet users are also being warned that their devices could be hacked by protesters who want to get their message out in cyberspace.

Where there are crowds, there is always an increased risk for crime, for example with pickpockets. Now, computer security experts are warning people to be aware of how they access the Internet from their personal devices, because this weekend there are bound to be cyber crooks fishing for personal information.

At the offices of Chicago's Mediafly, a company that helps businesses get their documents on to iPads, iPhones and other personal devices, Jason Shah demonstrated how easy it is to monitor what people around him are doing on the Internet.

Shah was looking at his company's Wi-Fi network traffic, but he says easy-to-get computer software exists that allows this kind of "Internet sniffing" on public networks -- allowing anonymous surfers to track what fellow users are seeing on their computers.

"Be careful of the kind of sites you access," said Shah. "Keep the personal and private sites for when you are at home... There is less of a chance of getting hacked in that scenario than when you are sitting in a public area on the Wi-Fi connection."

Protesters will use social networks to organize and galvanize crowds to action as events unfold. People in the crowds are being urged to access the Internet through secure channels such as encrypted personal subscriptions and password-protected sites.

Businesses, on the other hand, might want to think about shutting off their Wi-Fi devices.

"People are looking to get at them, and the publicity, so denial of service attacks are probably their biggest concern," said Prescient Solutions'Jerry Irvine. "Hackers like Anonymous and Stuxnet are going to come in and try to make a name for themselves."

The FBI Tells ABC 7 it has seen malware being installed on travelers' laptops through software updates on hotel internet connections.


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