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Security experts warn against public WiFi, cell phone charging stations

WASHINGTON – While you keep a close eye on your credit cards and cash when you travel, security professionals say your biggest security risk could actually be your cell phone.

Experts say cell phones pose a big risk mostly because of fake WiFi and cell phone signals set up by criminals. Last year alone, 566 million travelers worldwide had their personal information compromised.

Cybercrooks are hoping you can’t live without WiFi because it can be the back door to your hackable data including personal information and credit cards.

“It is very difficult to know if that public WiFi is legit. A criminal can set up fake public WiFi with a device like this very easily,” Charles Henderson, with IBM XForce Red Cybersecurity, told TODAY.

In fact, security experts offered WiFi access in New York and 2,300 people connected to it. At the same time, 109 handed over their credit card information when they were offered $2 WiFi access.

“Of course, in this case, we’re not actually taking the money. But 109 users happily handed their credit card details over to a complete stranger. A company they have no idea about,” said James Lyne, global head of Security Research for SOPHOS.

Hackers have also targeted public USB charging stations with viruses to steal your phone and computer data.

Experts suggest staying off networks you don’t know, avoid public charging stations and rip up used airline tickets and luggage tags.

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