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With a name like Open Air, having one’s security breached would be the last thing on the mind of someone looking for a free Wi-Fi connection to check email or update a Facebook profile.
I connected to that network knowing that I was taking part in a live demonstration by Gemalto’s chief technology officer Jason Hart, who, as an ‘ethical hacker’, was once employed by various organisations to find security vulnerabilities that could be exploited by true hackers.
Minutes later, Mr Hart implanted the infamous “blue screen of death” on my MacBook Pro, as the old-school video game sound of a bomb falling from the sky came out of the laptop’s speaker.
After pressing a couple keys on his end, the blue screen was removed and I was asked to surf the web and visit some random sites.
I watched the URLs of the sites I was visiting register on the screen of his own laptop.
Later, and on my own accord, I decided to log onto Hotmail and see if he would be able to see my personal emails.
I did not get far.
Instead of loading the login page, a screen shot of what looked like an 80s computer game popped up on my laptop.
Nevertheless, he said, with the help of the small USB-connected device he was using, he would be able to look at my emails, and be able to get a hold of my passwords.
Many of us often search for any available network if we cannot find one that works, with little regards for security.