Australian man charged for Evil Twin Wi-Fi attacks on domestic flights

Pierluigi Paganini July 02, 2024

An Australian man has been charged with carrying out ‘Evil Twin’ Wi-Fi attack during a domestic flight to steal user credentials and data.

An Evil Twin Wi-Fi attack is a type of cyberattack where a threat actor sets up a rogue wireless access point that mimics a legitimate one. The goal is to trick users into connecting to the fake access point, thereby allowing the attacker to intercept, capture, and manipulate data transmitted by the victim.

The AFP charged an Australian man (42) with operating a fake Wi-Fi access point on a domestic flight to steal user credentials and data.

“The AFP has charged a West Australian man who allegedly established fake free WiFi access points, which mimicked legitimate networks, to capture personal data from unsuspecting victims who mistakenly connected to them.” reads the press release published by AFP. “The man, 42, is expected to appear in Perth Magistrates Court today (28 June, 2024) to face nine charges for alleged cybercrime offences.”

The defendant faces charges of three counts of unauthorized impairment of electronic communication and three counts of possession or control of data to commit a serious offense.

The man is also charged with unauthorized access or modification of restricted data, dishonestly obtaining or dealing in personal financial information, and possession of identification information. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 23 years in prison.

The analysis of the seized data and devices from the Australian man revealed dozens of personal credentials and fraudulent WiFi pages. The man was charged in May 2024 following an investigation launched in April 2024 after an airline reported a suspicious WiFi network during a domestic flight. The investigators found a portable wireless access device, a laptop, and a mobile phone in the man’s luggage at Perth Airport. The Australian police also searched the man’s home in Palmyra. A second search warrant on May 8, 2024, led to his arrest and charges. Police allege he created ‘evil twin’ WiFi networks to lure users into entering their credentials on fake webpages, which he then stored. These harvested cfedentials could be used to access victims’ personal information and bank details.

AFP cybercrime investigators collected evidence that indicates the use of fraudulent WiFi pages at airports in Perth, Melbourne, and Adelaide, on domestic flights, and at locations associated with the man’s previous employment.

“To connect to a free WiFi network, you shouldn’t have to enter any personal details– such as logging in through an email or social media account,”

“If you do want to use public WiFi hotspots, install a reputable virtual private network (VPN) on your devices to encrypt and secure your data when using the internet.” AFP Western Command Cybercrime Detective Inspector Andrea Coleman said.

“When using a public network, disable file sharing, don’t do anything sensitive – such as banking -while connected to it and once you finish using it, change your device settings to ‘forget network’.

“We also recommend turning off the WiFi on your phone or other electronic devices before going out in public, to prevent your device from automatically connecting to a hotspot.” 

Pierluigi Paganini

Follow me on Twitter: @securityaffairs and Facebook and Mastodon

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Evil Twin Wi-Fi attack)

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