Turns out that you can’t trust ‘Trump free Wifi’ at the Republican National Congress

The cheeky japesters at Avast created a series of fake Wi-Fi networks at various locations around the Republican National Congress in Cleveland, as Silicon Angle reports:

Avast’s team set up several networks, using names such as “Trump free Wifi” or “Google Starbucks,” which were designed to look as though they were set up for convention attendees. Upon connecting, trusting a random and unprotected network they found in a public setting, the users unwittingly gave Avast access to spy on their devices.

Over the course of a day, Avast found over a thousand attendees that were completely negligent in their device’s security. Over 60 percent of the users who connected had their identity completely exposed, and slightly less than half of them checked their email or used messenger apps.

By the way, whether the SSID “Trump free Wifi” is supposed to represent a Wi-Fi that is “free of Trump”, or “free on behalf of Trump” is unclear to this writer. Your preference may vary.

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Apparently some RNC attendees also used the fake Wi-Fi hotspots to access their umm.. Tinder and Grindr accounts. Oh, and about 5.1% of people who accessed the phony free Wi-Fi used it to play Pokémon Go.

I guess they wanted to mix the serious business of choosing a US presidential candidate with a little fun. Who can blame them?

You should always take care about what Wi-Fi hotspots you connect to, and use a VPN to help keep their sensitive information out of the hands of snoopers.

You can learn more about Avast’s findings in its press release.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

5 comments on “Turns out that you can’t trust ‘Trump free Wifi’ at the Republican National Congress”

  1. Elliot Alderson

    now it would only be fair and unbiased if they do the same thing at the democratic national convention next week, then we can compare the results of both, but it's already skewed, because they released this report before doing the same thing to the dnc. now this tells all. Avast is in line with the Dems. and look at the Repubs as the enemy. Breaking News, they're all corrupt, they're just too dumb to realize or humbly admit it.

  2. John

    For one, this is simply showing people are way too careless with what they do. Doing online banking on an open Wifi without being on a VPN? Hm . . Yes Elliott, I'm pretty sure the statistics wouldn't differ much when doing the same in the DNC or in your local warehouse for that matter.

    One other fun detail is to notice: according to Avast "0.24% visited pornography sites like Pornhub.com" . Now that's a comforting thought, to see that is does not take merely those bad (bad!) atheists, but perhaps just as well a Christian Evangelists – to get a nice boner. YEY! :o)

    Ah wait!

    Maybe it was just Donald looking for some "good stuff" in there since so far he has not had any problem with embarassing his daugther either. On well… her body, having sex with her if only she were not his daughter… For ole times sake: http://on.cc.com/29WD1Rz

    What a world we live in.

  3. David L

    Well, as embarrassing as this election is for the US, I'm not surprised that the cult of Trump is completely lacking in anything resembling security awareness. Branch Trumpidian are known for there crude, nasty behavior, so not surprised at some of the website visits.
    To be fair though, many of the delegates will be single, and not all are politicians either. The ones playing Pokemon, well, the youngest delegate is 17 yrs old. But, some delegates do bring their families as they pay for the trips out of their own pockets. Cleveland is near Sandusky where Cedar Point is, a huge amusement park, with some monster rollercoaster's and other attractions nearby like a big water park.

    Now, is the Wi-Fi Trump free, or free of Trump? It don't matter Graham. The cult of Trump would drive over a cliff if a road sign said "Trump went this way" ( – ; just because it has his name attached. They troll the online articles as evidence. It's my opinion the US is screwed either way, and the world too, no matter which lying narcissistic criminal wins!

  4. Phil Potts

    News Flash! People use mobile apps to find sex partners! Curious how the most libertine are always the ones looking between other's legs.

  5. graphicequaliser

    Personally, when I'm out and about, I switch off my phone's wifi and use the 4G data allowance that I get nowhere near the limit of every month! 4G is wicked! It's also encrypted in the air so there's no chance of it being hacked. And it's just as fast as wifi – sometimes faster!

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