Evil twin attacks are on the rise, writes Kumar Abhishek, Machine Learning Engineer at Expedia. This type of attack is particularly dangerous because it is very difficult to detect and can have devastating consequences.

An evil twin attack is a type of man-in-the-middle attack where the attacker pretends to be a legitimate wi-fi network in order to intercept communications and steal sensitive data. This type of attack is particularly dangerous because the attacker can easily create a fake wi-fi network that looks identical to a legitimate one.

This makes it very difficult for users to tell the difference between the two and they may unknowingly connect to the attacker's network. Once the attacker has gained access to the victim's device, they can intercept communications, such as emails, and even access sensitive data.

In some cases, the attacker may also be able to inject malicious code onto the victim's device which can be used to take control of it. Evil twin attacks are becoming more common as wi-fi networks become more widespread. They are particularly dangerous because they are very difficult to detect and can have devastating consequences.

Evil twin attack - explained

The evil twin attack is a type of wi-fi hacking where an attacker creates a duplicate wi-fi network that looks identical to the original network. The evil twin will then intercept any data that is sent between the devices that are connected to it. This type of attack is relatively easy to carry out and can be very difficult to detect.

One of the best ways to protect against an evil twin attack is to use a VPN, which will encrypt your data and make it much more difficult for an attacker to intercept. Evil twin attacks are becoming more common as more people use wi-fi and as attackers get better at spoofing wi-fi networks. However, there are some things you can do to protect yourself from evil twin attacks.

Risks of evil twin attack

The danger of evil twin attacks is that they can be used to steal your data or infect your device with malware. If you connect to a fake wi-fi network, the attacker can see all the data you are sending and receiving. This includes any passwords you enter, as well as any other sensitive information.

In addition, the attacker can use the fake wi-fi network to inject malware into your device. This malware can then be used to track your activity, steal your data, or even take control of your device.

How can we spot evil twin attacks?

When attempting to spot an evil twin attack, there are several key indicators that can be looked for.

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One of the most common is an Access Point (AP) that has been set up with an identical SSID to a legitimate AP in the area. Other indicators include an AP that is broadcasting on a channel that is different from the legitimate AP, or an AP that has weaker encryption than the legitimate AP.

Another way to spot an evil twin attack is to look at the client devices that are connecting to the AP. If there are significantly more clients connecting to the AP than there should be, or if the clients are connecting from unusual locations, it may be an indication that the AP is illegitimate.

WiFi Pineapple: hardware for evil twins

A WiFi Pineapple is a device that can be used to create a WiFi hotspot. It typically consists of a router with an integrated modem and a software-based access point.

The Pineapple can be used to provide internet access to devices that do not have a built-in WiFi capability, such as laptops, smartphones, and gaming consoles. The Pineapple can also be used to extend the range of an existing WiFi network.

These devices can be used for evil twin attacks by allowing an attacker to spoof the MAC address of a legitimate WiFi router and broadcast a fake one which appears identical. When users connect to the fake WiFi network, the attacker can then intercept and collect their data.

How can you protect yourself from evil twin attacks?

Evil twin attacks are a serious threat to Wi-Fi users. However, you can protect yourself by being aware of the dangers and taking steps to avoid them:

  • Ensure you are connecting to a legitimate Wi-Fi network. If you are not sure, ask a staff member or check for the network's name and password
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks whenever possible. These networks are often not secure and are more likely to be targeted by attackers. If you must use a public Wi-Fi network, make sure you are using a VPN to encrypt your traffic
  • Be aware of the signs of an evil twin attack. These can include a network with a similar name to a legitimate one, or a network that does not require a password. If you see these signs, do not connect to the network
  • Change your passwords regularly and using strong passwords
  • Disable unnecessary wireless networks or networks that you do not recognise

Bottom line

While evil twin attacks are not as common as other types of cyber attacks, they can be just as dangerous and destructive. Both businesses and individuals need to be aware of the threat and take simple steps to protect themselves, such as using strong passwords, disabling unnecessary wireless networks and being cautious of public WiFi hotspots.