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Digital Encode CTO warns against fondness for free WiFi, flash drives



Stepping into public functions, hosted mostly in Hotels, participants are exposed to logging-in to free wifi. Others quickly connect to free Wifi at airports to surf the internet while waiting for their flights likewise others visiting hospitals, malls, churches, university, et cetera.

In most cases, as the event winds down, participants are handed over free flash-drives. However, an ICT security expert has cautioned against penchant for these ‘Greek Gift’, describing them as the grounds for hackers to get access to people’s information.

The Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Digital Encode, Seyi Akindeinde, stated at NaijaSecCon’18 which took place at The Zone Centre, Gbagada, Lagos.

Delivering a paper titled “The Friendly Enemy: The Perils of Free WiFi”, Akindeinde said “There is the proliferation of Cyber hacks all over the place and one of the things we want to achieve is to know how these people carry out hacking? And we discover that it is the way a lot of people are connecting to free WiFi and then sending out their critical information.

“And one of the things we wanted to achieve is to find out how easy hackers actually gain access to all these information as people log in to so many things from social media, online banking to even confidential information.”

He said the presentation was mainly to teach people how they can protect themselves against those that intrude into their privacy.

While admitting that availability of Public WiFi can be of benefit, he warned, that public WiFi can be of benefit if you know the organization that is offering it, “but if you go to a hotel where anybody lodges in, or airport, anybody can be at the airport, you cannot afford to log in to such a person’s WiFi, because you don’t know the person’s motive, it is a bait. For hackers they know the only way to get mass information is to give you something free. And that is why it is very difficult to control because it is free.”

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“My advice is that if you log in to free WiFi, only log in to the news website or video website, don’t log into yahoo or Facebook, Google or what have you, because you are definitely going to be sending your username and password, to those hackers.”

He also spoke on the coming election, “As 2019 approaches, the public must also be careful as hackers are always on the prowl during election year. The hackers want your information, they want your details, so they want access to what you have, some free flash drives have virus, immediately you plug it in into your computer that is the end.”

Teams members performing tasks during NaijaSecCon’18 Hackaton competition.

Akindeinde urged the public to format such flash drive before use, adding that hackers use all manners of tactics because they know that people are all vulnerable to free things.

On how to prevent hackers, he said “NaijaSecCon is an eye opener, because it brings exposure to the people, it also ensure they take preventive measures to protect themselves. Even if the hackers are here, they would know that their secrets have been exposed. If we don’t do this we are doing a disservice to the people.”

Akindeinde stressed that the government can do more aside building Cyber Security Center; they need to try more on personnel development, the police, the EFCC.

He said “Technology is advancing every single day, and so they should be attending conferences like this especially ministries, departments and agencies.”

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