How Hackers Can Steal Your Identity When Using Public Wi-Fi

When there's downtime, let's face it, we get online. And although there are free Wi-Fi hotspots just about everywhere, hackers are using those to access your personal information.

Randy Haba is an "ethical hacker" for Dallas-based DKB Innovative. He designs ways to keep those hackers out who are up to no good.

NBC 5 Responds recently met up with him at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport where he sat out in the open and fired up a device that quickly and easily let him steal usernames and passwords of the people all around us.

Haba set up a copy of D/FW Airport's free Wi-Fi page, then made his own hotspot. As passengers flooded in to board their flights they searched for free Wi-Fi. In just four minutes, he said he already had 41 people connected to his network.

Haba's page, like many others, asks you to give your Facebook username and password in order to gain access to that free Wi-Fi.

"It actually writes their information to a file on my laptop," Haba said.

Just so you know we watched him delete everything he hacked. But if you're thinking, big deal, he just gets into my Facebook, think again.

"When you need to reset your password they ask you personal information. Who's your childhood friend? Where did you grow up? Those kinds of things. Well, in your Facebook bio they ask you questions that would target those specific areas of your life," Haba said.

"I can reset all your banking info, change your address and have everything sent to me," he said.

If you don't typically seek out those free Wi-Fi hotspots, you could still be at risk. NBC 5 Responds' Wayne Carter was going to purposely let Haba hack his phone, but he already beat him to it.

Haba built his stealing site so well, Carter thought his phone was safe, but it connected to the hotspot automatically before he pressed a single button.

"I see your kids, your work, education. I see places you've lived, your contact info," Haba said.

It didn't stop there. He even accessed his email.

"I can even call your bank and pretend I'm you. I have your address, I can reset and have a credit card sent to my house," Haba said.

So how do you stay safe?

Haba says he never uses any public free Wi-Fi. There are just too many risks. If you do use them, limit the info you put on Facebook. Take out the year you were born, and don't label your best friend or family on your account. And as tough as it can be, use as many different passwords as you can. So if malicious hackers steal one, they can't get into all your accounts.

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