Man Arrested for ‘Evil Twin’ Wi-Fi Networks That Swiped Data During Flights

Australian police have arrested and charged a man with nine cybercrime violations for allegedly setting up fake public Wi-Fi networks with a portable wireless access point to swipe unsuspecting users’ data.

The man set up “evil twin” Wi-Fi networks at airports, during flights, and other places related to the man’s “previous employment” that would trick users into signing onto the spoofed network with their email address or social media accounts. That login data was then sent to the man’s devices, police said.

Dozens of credentials were reportedly obtained. This data could have allowed the man to access victims’ accounts and potentially swipe further sensitive information like banking login details or other personal data.

Airline employees noticed one of the strange in-flight Wi-Fi networks. The unnamed Australian airline then reported the Wi-Fi’s presence to the police, who investigated the issue in April and arrested the suspect in May.

Australian Broadcasting Corp. reports that the man, Michael Clapsis, appeared before Australia’s Perth Magistrates Court and has since been released on “strict” bail with limited internet access. He also had to surrender his passport. A now-deleted LinkedIn profile suggests Clapsis may have previously worked at a shipping company.

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He is being charged with three counts of unauthorized impairment of electronic communication, three counts of possession or control of data with the intent to commit a serious offense, a count of unauthorized access or modification of restricted data, a count of dishonestly obtaining or dealing in personal financial information, and a count of possession of identification information with intent of committing an offense. Clapsis is scheduled to appear in court again in August.

Evil twin attacks can use a range of different methods to swipe victims’ data. But they typically involve offering free Wi-Fi that appears legitimate, but actually has “login pages” designed to steal your data. Genuine Wi-Fi networks should never ask you to login with your social media credentials or hand over a password for any of your accounts. It’s also good practice to use a VPN and avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi networks when a more secure option is available.

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