R930k WiFi Hotspot Fraud

Wi-Fi hacking and associated fraud is often spoken about, but real customer experiences should alert users that losses may be severe.

Johannesburg, South Africa

execMobile (www.execmobile.co.za) has previously published roaming “bill shock” horror stories of customers who have spent R760k and R610k respectively when using mobile data abroad for a couple of days. However, the Wi-Fi first culture which this has bred amongst mobile users, may result in even higher losses, or even jail time, if steps aren’t taken to manage security.

“We have first-hand knowledge of a property company’s employee, who was on holiday in Kenton”, says founder and MD of execMobile, Craig Lowe, “and used a public hotspot to send a building rental invoice to a customer. The email was intercepted and the banking details on the R930k invoice changed, before the criminals forwarded this on to the customer.”

execMobile research indicates only 24% of mobile data originates over VPNs despite widespread security concerns about hotel and public Wi‐Fi. Lowe continues, “This is not surprising as employees’ laptops are well protected, but many travellers actually use their phones or tablets, and these devices typically have no protection, even though they may carry just as much corporate data.”

Only the customers’ alert accounting clerk prevented the fraud by requesting proof of the new banking details from the property group.

A close shave indeed, but more concerning, is that the penalty could soon be even higher. If the communication had contained customer’s private data or personal information, the pending POPI legislation may have led to a fine of up to R10m or the directors being sent to jail.

“Do not leave your digital security at home when you connect away from home” concludes Lowe, “our customers’ experiences have shown it can be very costly.”

Kaspersky Lab’s 2016 Travel report, indicates more than half of travellers bank (61%) and shop (55%) online via Wi-Fi, so it is no wonder then, that a South African loses their identity online every 29s.

The report can be found at https://blog.kaspersky.com/kaspersky-lab-international-travel-report/12429/

About execMobile’s PocketWifi

PocketWifi is your ultimate travel companion, simply the smartest way to travel. PocketWifi is a handheld device which provides you with wireless internet access wherever you go. It works just like any other Wi-Fi hotspot – but it’s personal and fits in your pocket.



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