The world’s most popular sporting event is mere days away. The 32 competing nations are running their final drills in friendly games. Millions of fans are already daydreaming about the clashes. At the same time, a few but dangerous number of individuals are fretting their hands, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting victims.
The FIFA World Cup 2018 is set to take place in Russia, starting on June 16. Thousands of people are already flocking to the host cities, bringing along with them heaps of connected devices. Naturally, the vast majority of those will be relying on public WiFi networks, a ground notoriously suspect to hacking.
Kaspersky Lab, a multinational cybersecurity company headquartered in Moscow, recently analyzed public Wi-Fi spots in the 11 FIFA World Cup 2018 host cities – Saransk, Samara, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Volgograd, Moscow, Ekaterinburg, Sochi, Rostov, Kaliningrad, and Saint Petersburg – and the results are far from reassuring. Here’s what they found out.
The research showed that so far not all wireless access points have encryption and authentication algorithms, a particularly troubling observation that means that hackers only need to be located near an access point to intercept network traffic. They found that 7,176 of approximately 32,000 public Wi-Fi networks in he World Cup, or 22.4%, did not use traffic encryption.
The research also showed that Saint Petersburg, Kaliningrad, and Rostov were the riskiest cities, with the highest percentages of unreliable Wi-Fi networks. In contrast, the safest places turned out to be relatively small towns, such as Saransk, which only has 10% of its WiFi spots compromised, and Samara (17%)
And only roughly two-thirds of public WiFi networks use WiFi Protected Access (WPA/WPA2), a protocol considered to be one of the most secure.
Kaspersky also issued a number of recommendation, here they are: