According to this Wall Street Journal article, Wi-Fi hot spots, such as those found at hotels, airports and cafes, often attract hackers ready to steal personal information out of the air. Hackers have become adept at filching a user’s information as they use the wireless connection. Two techniques are popular: the “evil twin” and “man in the middle”. In an evil-twin attack, the hacker sets up a sham wireless hot spot Web site, one that would look just like the legitimate web site. When information is entered on the fake site, the hacker can fully access it. The man in the middle technique also involves a deceptive Wi-Fi signal, but does connect you to the legitimate wireless network via that signal.
Businesses that offer the Wi-Fi connection often aren’t aware that their networks have been breached or don’t report known breaches for fear of bad publicity. There have been few prosecutions involving wireless hacking. One of these was the case of Max Butler, aka “Iceman”. Mr. Butler was indicted on charges of wire fraud and identity theft. He got this information by “war driving”, or searching unprotected Wi-Fi networks for user names and passwords to banks’ networks.