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Free Wi-Fi costing users millions

Reporter
Reporter
08 October 2018 1 minute readShare
Stealing money, cyber, hack, scam

Doing business down at the local café or shopping centre may not be the wisest move, with Australians losing $48 million to scammers targeting free Wi-Fi hotspots.

In 2018 alone, Aussies lost about $48 million to financial scammers who targeted popular online shopping destinations and exploited weaknesses in free Wi-Fi to grab sensitive personal data.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has launched “Stay Smart Online” week in a bid to educate Australian consumers about sophisticated scams that aim to hack into online banking and capture credit card details.

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The ACSC estimates that about six million Australian adults have been impacted by a scam.

An increasingly common and sophisticated method for fraudsters is to pose as a popular online retailer — often with a “shopfront” that appears reputable and well known.

 

Free Wi-Fi, which often has lax security, is also a method scammers use to gain access to data of those who are using the network.

Australians often believe a scam will be obvious, but fraudsters are often using sophisticated graphics, technology and platforms. This is having a material impact on Australian consumers personally, and businesses in Australia more broadly.

“Cyber crime is a big problem in Australia and all over the world. The human and financial cost to businesses and society is rising every year,” the ACSC said in a statement today.

“It impacts our business[es], our families and friends, costing huge amounts of money, time and pain.”

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Free Wi-Fi costing users millions
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Adam Zuchetti is the former editor of MyBusiness and a senior freelance media professional, specialising in the fields of business, personal finance and property. In 2020, he also embarked on his own business journey – inspired in part by the entrepreneurs and founders he had met through his journalistic work – with the launch of customised pet gifting and subscription service Paws N’ All.

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