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Beware of Free Wi-Fi: A Warning from PNP-ACG and GCash

Beware of Free Wi-Fi: A Warning from PNP-ACG and GCash

The Anti-Cybercrime Group of the Philippine National Police (PNP-ACG), in collaboration with #GCash has issued a warning against the use of free Wi-Fi networks. These networks are often not secure and can lead to mobile phone hacking, remote access, and account takeovers.

GCash, a leading finance app, has voiced its concerns about the potential dangers of connecting to free and unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots. These connections could leave millions of user accounts exposed to cyber threats. The PNP-ACG has also warned that these harmful free Wi-Fi hotspots are frequently found in public places like hotel rooms, coffee shops, airports, and more.

PNP-ACG Director, PBGen Ronnie Francis Cariaga, warns, “While open Wi-Fi networks may seem attractive due to their free and easy internet access, it’s crucial to understand that their open and unsecured nature also leaves users vulnerable to cyber threats.”

Cariaga highlights one of the main concerns: the risk of electronic devices falling victim to Man-In-The-Middle (MTM) attacks when connected to open Wi-Fi networks. “An attacker can intercept the communication between your devices and web browsers, potentially stealing sensitive information and even taking control of your device,” says Cariaga.

In view of these significant security risks, both the PNP-ACG and GCash strongly advise the public to be cautious and avoid using public Wi-Fi networks. They recommend individuals to depend on secure mobile networks for their internet connectivity needs, especially while traveling.

“Public and open Wi-Fi networks are dangerous because they often lack robust encryption, allowing cybercriminals to intercept data or spread malware, and they may even feature fake hotspots set up to steal information,” warns GCash Chief Information Security Officer, Miguel Geronilla.

Users are urged to report any incidents of scams, fraud, and cybercrime to the PNP-ACG through its hotlines at (02) 8414-1560 or 0998-598-8116 or via email at acg@pnp.gov.ph.

To report a scam, users can visit the official GCash Help Center at help.gcash.com or message Gigi on the website and type “I want to report a scam.” Customers can also contact the official GCash hotline at 2882 for inquiries and other concerns.

FAQs

  1. What is the warning issued by PNP-ACG and GCash? PNP-ACG and GCash have issued a warning against the use of free Wi-Fi networks due to their potential security risks.

  2. What are the potential risks of using free Wi-Fi networks? Free Wi-Fi networks can lead to mobile phone hacking, remote access, and account takeovers. They can also expose users to Man-In-The-Middle (MTM) attacks.

  3. What is the advice given by PNP-ACG and GCash? Both PNP-ACG and GCash advise the public to avoid using public Wi-Fi networks and instead rely on secure mobile networks for their internet connectivity needs.

  4. How can users report incidents of scams, fraud, and cybercrime? Users can report such incidents to the PNP-ACG through its hotlines or via email. Scams can also be reported through the official GCash Help Center or by messaging Gigi on the GCash website.


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