The next time you’re in a Starbucks sipping a Chai latte, availing yourself of the free Wi-Fi, remember this: The private messages you are sending, the websites you are visiting, and bank accounts you are accessing could be intercepted by a nefarious individual sitting two tables away. It doesn’t need to stop with snooping either; they could inject code into your Web browser to steal your passwords or install software to give them access to your laptop whenever they want.
I don’t mean to scare you. I work for the other side as a white hat hacker who works with some of the largest companies on the planet to help them protect private and sensitive information — and keep it out of the hands of the wrongdoers. Information Security is a large industry (and growing), but it isn’t fool-proof. There’s also a lot of FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) floating around out there. Unfortunately a lot of it is based on reality; in some cases people downplay its seriousness.
On a Sunday morning last year, I received a phone call from the CEO and CFO of a major restaurant chain. Also on the