As you move around the city your device is actively looking for hotspots, automatically connecting to those you’ve configured. Hotspots that do not require a password are also silently establishing a connection so that all your apps and email are transferred saving you money.  But does this convenience come at a cost?

What you may not have known is that while you believe this has all been happening silently in the background, it’s been anything but silent. 

In a recent tech article on CNN hackers designed a device(appropriately named Snoopy) that would actively listen for smart phones looking for WIFI hotspots.  They ran a small experiment and in less than an hour they were able to capture network names and GPS coordinates of about 150 smart phones.

The principle is simple, listen for smart phones seeking out networks that they’ve connected to in the past and then immediately advertise the network names they are looking for and accept any password they use. Once this is done, the smart phones will then unknowingly connect to a hacker giving them the possibility to run additional tools to extract valuable information.

To protect yourself, you simply need to set your smartphone to confirm connections to all WIFI networks, even those you are familiar with. This will prevent your device from transmitting unnecessary information that could be used to gain access to your mobile device.