Become an ethical hacker in simple steps: A Beginner's Guide
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5G is more secure than Wi-Fi, right?

When accessing sensitive information through a smart device (for example, an online bank account), most people assume that a cellular network is more secure than a Wi-Fi network. But as the new 5G installations bring new security risks, this assumption is no longer accurate. Why; Over the next decade, 5G will be the first to use Wi-Fi, exposing more and more cellular users to security threats to Wi-Fi networks. In addition, the increase in devices connected to 5G will probably lead to a sharp increase in hackers seeking to exploit direct cellular connectivity. network.

The reality is that mobile providers cannot keep up with the bandwidth requirements of users, forcing them to accept the "offloading" of the Wi-Fi network, more commonly referred to as Hotspot 2.0 or Passpoint. Works by seamlessly switching the cellular connection of a user device to Wi-Fi every time it is within range of an access point (AP) designed for Passpoint (this is the most common in big cities, public transport areas, airports and shopping malls). In fact, Cisco predicts that 71% of 5G traffic will be "offloading" to Wi-Fi networks (from 59% of today's traffic) 4G). That's the key to this issue - the majority of cellular data users actually use a nearby Wi-Fi hotspot for a long time without knowing it. And that means it is vulnerable their devices on Wi-Fi hacks.


Let's hope you're familiar with the six usual Wi-Fi security risks so far, but if not, here's a summary. The six risks are:

Rogue Access Point (AP): Unauthorized APs that are physically connected to a network and should not be and allow hackers to bypass security.

Rogue Client: Victim Devices Connected to Malicious APs and May Be Infected malware payloads that are trying to spread to secure networks.

Neighbor AP: Customer Devices (customers) on private networks that are connected to neighboring SSIDs and are at risk of being accidentally connected to malicious APs and infected.

Ad-Hoc Links: Sharing files from user to user (Air Drop for example). This is convenient, but anything that is shared this way, including infected files, will bypass security checks.

The Evil Twin AP: An AP created by a hacker to mimic the SSID of a legitimate AP to steal the victim's connection without ever noticing it.

Properly configured AP: APs that do not comply with minimum network security standards, such as encryption settings. These expose the network to attacks.

Of the six threats, the Evil Twin AP is the most dangerous for 5G connections. Attackers mainly monitor and intercept man-in-the-middle traffic over a Wi-Fi network and are constantly looking for easy ways to steal valuable information, such as user credentials.

Offloaded Wi-Fi is technically supposed to be protected by business versions of the WPA2 security protocol or WPA3. However, both of these encryption methods have recently suffered serious weaknesses with the KRACK and Dragonblood vulnerabilities, which have shown fundamental weaknesses in system design (although business publications are considered a little safer). In addition, new tools are being developed and investigations are being made to deny this protection. Η encryption, by the way, is supposed to be the ultimate protection solution for our connections.


Wi-Fi attacks via offloading are the biggest security threat to 5G users, but 5G itself also has security vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. In February at 2019, security investigators uncovered two attacks, Torpedo and Piercer, that allow hacker to invade calls and locate the location of mobile phones without users' knowledge. Researchers say such attacks can be carried out with equipment that costs just 200 dollars.

Although a security solution that prevents these Wi-Fi attacks is technically feasible today, it would require cooperation between companies that build Wi-Fi infrastructure and those that build devices. If these two sets of factors joined forces and created a new Wi-Fi security standard implemented through software patches on the existing hardware, could solve the very serious problem of hacking Wi-Fi. Device security is a factor that matters to us all!

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Teo Ehc

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