Being tethered to internet has now become more of a necessity. The need to stay constantly connected to a high speed reliable internet connection is more of a basic need. However, would you be willing to sign over the custody of your child in lieu of receiving access to wireless internet?
An experiment by a tech security firm had users signing away their first born for free Wi-Fi. Several Britons agreed to give up their eldest child in return for the use of free wireless internet, in an experiment to highlight the dangers of public internet.
F-Secure, an online security services and software company, conducted a simple experiment at two different venues, and surprisingly the results were quite consistent, reported Yahoo News. Essentially, Londoners were asked to agree to “Terms and Conditions” as they logged on to use free Wi-Fi in a cafe in a busy financial district, which is close to the houses of parliament.
The terms specially included a “Herod clause,” which categorically stated, “The Wi-Fi password will be provided only if the recipient agrees to assign their first born child to us for the duration of eternity.”
Since the people more often than not blindly and blatantly tick the “I Agree” button, F-Secure later said, “As this is an experiment, we will be returning the children to their parents. The experiment was aimed to highlight the total disregard for computer security by people when they are mobile.”
The device used in the experiment was quite unique, just like the clause. German ethical hacking company SySS built the device used in the study: a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot small enough to be carried in a handbag for around $NZ308, reported Phys.
In just 30 minutes, over 250 devices connected to the hotspot. However, in their defense, majority of the people had their devices connecting automatically owing to their setting for the Wi-Fi. Still, these users had to agree to the seemingly ridiculous T&C, and about six people readily did so.
Besides proving that people will ignore the T&C, the experiment also proved how easy it was to snoop into the digital lives of people by luring them with free Wi-Fi. The company was able to collect the text of emails they sent, the email addresses of the sender and recipient, and the password of the sender too.
The head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Center previously told researchers that they already had reports of criminals using free Wi-Fi to steal personal data.
[Image Credit | Impactlab.net]