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Hackers Snatch Data From Bogus Wireless Access Points

An "Evil Twin" that hijacks unsuspecting wireless transmissions is the latest security bugaboo, academic researchers in the U.K. asserted Thursday. But the idea is anything but fresh.

The hacking technique is dubbed "Evil Twin" because scammers set up a bogus wireless access point near a legitimate base station that they then jam. Users within range of the sham access point connect to it thinking that it's a real link to the Net. All the time, however, the information transmitted over the wireless connection is being intercepted by the hackers, who look for passwords, usernames, financial account log-in information, or other confidential data.

Think of it as one big key logger and you get the idea.

"So-called 'Evil Twin' hotspots present a hidden danger for Web users," said Phil Nobles, a wireless and cybercrime expert at Cranfield University in Bedfordshire.

"Users think they've logged on to a wireless hotspot connection when, in fact, they've been tricked to connect to the attacker's unauthorized base station," said Nobles in a statement. "The latter jams the connection to a legitimate base station by sending a stronger signal within close proximity to the wireless client " thereby turning itself into an 'Evil Twin'."

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