Police Break Up Two Theft Rings In Villa Clara Wifi Zones / 14ymedio
14ymedio, Havana, 11 October 2016 — “Be careful in wifi zones,” reads
the most common warning seen in areas throughout the country where
wireless navigation is enabled. The “explosion” of cellphones, laptops
and tablets in these areas is accompanied by an increase in thefts from
users accounts. A crime for which nine individuals in Villa Clara
province will be tried.
An official note from the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) published in
the regional newspaper Vanguardia explains that the police “have broken
up, this year, two criminal rings made up of nine citizens, most of them
young people under 25 and without priors, dedicated to stealing cash
from internet and Nauta email accounts, taking advantage of the
expansion of wifi access.”
The two networks that loot users balances operate mainly in the cities
of Remedios and Santa Clara, where “those involved were selling stolen
hours at prices lower than the Telecommunications Company sells Nauta
[internet navigation] cards.”
The note details that during the arrests of the accused authorities
“seized the technical means employed, the authors confessed and the
process of criminal investigation has been streamlined to put them
before the courts and sanction them.”
MININT calls on people “to contribute to confronting these unscrupulous
elements,” although it does not reveal the details of how they were able
to loot people’s internet and phone card balances.
The practice of stealing the funds in Nauta internet
service accounts has become more widespread in the last year and is
based primarily on the insertion of a wireless signal that plagiarizes
the original, adding a period, a script or a space to the name of the
network that goes unnoticed by the client.
While the signal emitted by the ETECSA state nework is called
WIFI_ETECSA, the pirate network might be named WIFI_ ETECSA_, or
WIFI_ETECSA_ or WIFI_ETECSA_EXT among many other variants. The unwary
users connect to it and the hacker takes advantage of that to
collect their account information and use it themselves or transfer it
to another user.
To extend the pirated signal in wifi areas they use wireless devices
called nanostations – which are wireless routers. The stolen balances
are resold to other internet users looking to pay a little less for an
hour connecting to the great World Wide Web.
An hour of browsing through Nauta’s service connection costs 2 Cuban
Convertible pesos (about $2 US), the equivalent of two days wages for a
professional on the island, where monthly wages range generally between
about 20 and 25 CUC.
In September of this year ETECSA announced that it has more than 200
wireless navigation areas across the country. Havana remains at the head
of all provinces with 24 of these areas, followed by Pinar del Río and
Granma, with 19 and 16 respectively.
However, critics do not stop complaining about the quality of the
service provided, which suffers from frequent interruptions, congestion,
high prices and many censored sites.
Source: Police Break Up Two Theft Rings In Villa Clara Wifi Zones /
14ymedio – Translating Cuba –