Evil Twin Attack: A Detailed Guide

11/16/2022

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It’s normal to use public Wi-Fi while you’re out, whether you’re shopping, traveling, or just getting a coffee to check your messages or browse the internet. However, there are dangers associated with accessing public WiFi, like evil twin hacking.

Internet users are susceptible to an Evil Twin attack, a category of cyberattacks when they utilize public wifi. Hackers set up malicious hotspots in places where customers expect to find free wifi. Anyone who utilizes public Wi-Fi is in danger of coming across an Evil Twin attack.

Using Evil Twin attacks, cybercriminals can profit from their victims’ online activities. Use a wifi hotspot operated by Evil Twin. Hackers may be able to track your activity online and perhaps acquire your data for use in phishing, fraud, and identity theft.

Even worse, an Evil Twin attack might infect your device with malware, giving hackers direct access to it and allowing them to install additional payloads like spyware, keyloggers, or Trojans that can take entire control of your computer.

Because of this, it is crucial to understand what an Evil Twin attack is and how to defend yourself from it. You will learn in this article how to defend against evil twin attacks.

What makes it an “Evil Twin Attack”?

An Evil Twin attack, sometimes known as an Evil Twin hotspot, is one in which hackers attract their targets. Hackers usually install Evil Twin hotspots in places with free Wi-Fi, like coffee shops, a mall, a restaurant, etc. An Evil Twin attack depends on people expecting to discover free wifi in the open space where it is used. Hackers use non-obvious names (SSIDs) like “Starbucks free internet” or “free hotel wifi” to fool victims into thinking their malicious hotspots are authentic and offered by a nearby business.

A cybercriminal can intercept any data sent across the network by a victim’s devices once connected to the fake wifi hotspot. Additionally, it enables the hacker to target the victim’s device and possibly gain access to its contents to steal data or infect the device with malware. Through the compromised hotspot, victims can still access the internet normally and might not even be aware that they are being attacked. The name of the Evil Twin might, in certain places, be an identical replica of the real hotspot. This surprises everyone who connects in a hurry.

Examples of Evil Twin Attacks

Numerous cybersecurity threats can come about due to an evil twin assault. The following types of attacks could be performed against you by hackers if you mistakenly connect to an Evil Twin hotspot:

Man in the Middle

An Evil Twin wifi hotspot allows a hacker to spy on your data as it travels through the fake wifi hotspot network. The hacker who uses your session to launch a MitM attack is given the following malicious abilities:

  • Session espionage. (The hacker manages to get hold of your email or another personal account by intercepting an authentication key.).
  • Engage in a replay attack, in which the hacker copies an action you just performed, such as login into an account, after recording your activity.
  • The hacker modifies your content for the recipient to receive something other than what you intended to send.
  • The hacker deletes your content so that the intended recipient never sees it.

DNS spoofing

Another possibility is that the hacker will launch a DNS assault when you use an Evil Twin hotspot. For instance, hackers can use this attack to direct consumers away from the web page they intend to visit (this is called DNS hijacking). This type of DNS hijacking has the drawback that the victim is unlikely to be aware that they have been redirected to a malicious website. The website may include malware or be a fraudulent login page intended to “phish” users’ data.

The user could then download more packages from a Command and Control (CnC) server if the hacker successfully infects them with drive-by malware that gives them a foothold on the compromised device. In the worst-case scenario, this could lead to the victim becoming infected with a Remote Access Trojan, which enables the hacker to seize complete control of the afflicted device and acquire valuable information for fraud and identity theft.

Evil Twin Attack Situation Example

They choose to go to their neighborhood coffee shop. They join the public Wi-Fi network after they sit and enjoy their coffee. They previously connected to this access point without issue, so they don’t have any cause to suspect anything. On this particular occasion, a hacker put up an evil twin network with the same SSID name. Since they are seated close to the unknowing victim, their fake network’s signal is stronger than the genuine network of the coffee shop. As a result, despite being marked as “Unsecure,” the victim connects to it. The target goes online and logs into their bank account to send money. 

The evil twin network gives hackers access to their financial information because they are not utilizing a VPN, or virtual private network, which would encrypt their traffic. The victim learns about this later when they discover that their account has been the subject of fraudulent transactions that cost them money.

How to Stop an Attack by the Evil Twin

The simplest way to protect yourself from an Evil Twin assault is to avoid public Wi-Fi networks. However, most users use free internet to avoid paying for mobile data plans. As a result, it won’t be possible to avoid using public wifi completely. There are steps you can do to protect yourself. How to stop an Evil Twin attack is as follows:

1. Avoid accessing personal accounts

By refraining from logging into any private accounts when using public wifi, you may significantly lower the risks associated with it. Public wifi can help do simple things like playing mobile games, checking the weather, obtaining directions, searching the web, and more. However, it is generally advised to avoid logging into personal accounts, and it is crucial to avoid entering payment information or using financial services like internet banking. It’s crucial to remember that just the data you access and the accounts you connect to are vulnerable during an Evil Twin attack. Therefore, if you avoid utilizing important personal accounts, you shouldn’t run the risk of giving hackers access to them if you unintentionally join a risky network.

2. Use only HTTPS websites.

The dependable Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol provides security for HTTPS websites. Online services and websites that use HTTPS offer strong end-to-end data encryption. This ensures that data communicated from your device to the website is secure and protects it from eavesdroppers while in transit.

HTTPS sites are safer than sites with HTTP since the “S” in HTTPS refers for “secure”. Because of this, visiting HTTPS websites is crucial, especially if you’re on a public wifi network. In your browser, look for the lock to the left of the URL to quickly determine whether the website you are accessing has a valid TLS certificate:

Only websites that employ HTTPS have this lock. Finally, consider adding an HTTPS-Everywhere or Force-TLS browser plugin to your computer. This will enable you to access an HTTPS version of a well-known website if one exists. Just be careful and keep an eye on the URLs you visit because these programs are not perfect.

3. Put two-factor authentication to use.

You may ensure that no one can access your online accounts without your password and the authentication code sent to a physical device by setting up two-factor authentication (app like Google Authenticator). This relieves some of the strain off of you by boosting your security and making it less worrying if a password is compromised.

Another piece of advice is to use a secure password manager to make it easier to remember complex passwords and to update your passwords frequently. Always keep in mind that a properly safe password will be unique. Therefore, avoid using the same password for several accounts since hackers will gain access to multiple accounts if your password is hacked.

4. Apply a VPN

An online VPN service is created to guarantee your online protection and privacy. An encrypted tunnel protects your data for it to function. Your data is encrypted by the VPN when it is transmitted from your device over the internet to the distant VPN server location.

Thanks to the security provided by a reliable VPN, local network administrators, Internet Service Providers, hackers, and other eavesdroppers cannot see what you are doing online. A VPN can make it hard for hackers to view data as it travels via Wi-Fi.

Using a VPN ensures that even if you unintentionally join an Evil Twin hotspot, the hacker won’t be able to track your activities or steal your data.

To avoid unencrypted wifi networks and ensure that you don’t unintentionally connect to an Evil Twin hotspot, we still advise you to do so. However, a VPN will shield you from having your data taken in an Evil Twin assault if you use it continuously. As a result, a VPN is the best security option for free Wi-Fi.

5. Use an antivirus program and turn on your firewall

You run the risk of being a target of cyberattacks and hackers every time you connect to the internet.

Whether you connect to the internet at home or through a public network, you should always activate a trustworthy firewall that actively checks the security of all incoming data packets. The finest firewalls also keep an eye on outgoing traffic to stop Trojan infections and other hazardous viruses from getting in touch with command and control sites.

You must use an antivirus application with real-time protection, active malware scanning, and a powerful firewall. You can scan all incoming packets for malware and avoid downloading potentially harmful vulnerabilities or being attacked by drive-by payloads.

6. Disable auto-connect

By going into your device’s settings and turning off auto-connect, you may easily prevent yourself from joining every wifi hotspot you pass by.

Evil Twin hotspots are problematic because they frequently lack password security. This indicates that all you have to do to access the hacker’s free internet is click on the wifi hotspot, connect, and start browsing.

Unknowingly connecting to an Evil Twin hotspot is possible if your mobile device is enabled to connect to any open wifi automatically.

Even if your cellphone is still in your pocket, the apps you use will start communicating with the internet via the hacker’s server. The hacker might thus be able to access some of your data.

If you turn off auto-connect, you will have total control over the wifi hotspots you select to use. Furthermore, you can distinguish between wifi options and choose the ones you want to connect to.

7. Refrain from connecting to unsecured wifi networks.

You will have the chance to connect to a lot of public wifi hotspots when you move around your neighborhood, go on holiday, or need travel for work.

Some of these will be authentic hotspots guarded by the place offering free internet.

It is simple to identify between a secured and an unsecured wifi network. You need to ask the owner of the wifi hotspot for the password to connect.

If you are unsure, ask for their wifi hotspot’s name (SSID). By following this procedure, you may be certain that the hotspot you are utilizing is real and not set up by a hacker. If password-protected, a hotspot should have been configured with suitable WPA2 or WPA3 encryption. Your data is shielded by encryption as it travels from your device to the wifi router to prevent being intercepted while in transit.

If you are unsure whether the wifi network you are connected to is sufficiently secured, click Properties after selecting the network in your settings. If the network is secured, WEP or WPA2 will be displayed next to Security. Your data may be intercepted if the network does not show WPA or WPA2 encryption.

8. If you are kicked off a public wifi network, be cautious.

Hackers that create Evil Twin hotspots frequently employ deceptive techniques to persuade users to connect to their fake hotspots. They can make users lose access to a wifi network by flooding a valid access point with de-authentication packets.

Users frequently open their wifi settings and rejoin. Some users can unintentionally connect to the hacker’s Evil Twin, created with the same SSID (name) as the legitimate hotspot.

So remember to be careful and only rejoin the legitimate hotspot if you are unexpectedly thrown off public wifi. Consider whether the password required to access the genuine network is being requested. It might be an Evil Twin if you aren’t sent to the standard login page and prompted for a password.

Smishing: Helpful Ways to Defend Against It

The term “smishing” is a combination of “phishing,” or the technique of collecting personal or financial information through duplicitous communications, typically emails, and “SMS,” or short message service, the technology behind texting. Simply put, it’s phishing via text messages on mobile devices. In this article, we’ll help you to defend against it.

Conclusion

It pays to be aware of the various threats you can encounter as the quantity and cyberattacks increases. One of these is the Evil Twin attack, which is rampant and may be incredibly successful against unprepared targets. Businesses and people must be aware of the danger and take precautions to stay safe. Utilizing secure passwords, turning off extra wireless networks, and exercising caution when using public Wi-Fi hotspots are easy ways to lower the chance of an evil twin attack.