Failure To Read Hotspot Fine Print Could Lead To Signing Away Rights To Your Firstborn Child

How carefully do you read those terms and conditions that pop up when you use a WiFi hotspot you’re unfamiliar with? Not quite carefully enough, it seems, as one group doing an experiment on the security risks of public WiFi found at least six people who unwittingly gave away their firstborn children in the process of getting online.

The European law enforcement agency Europol teamed with security researchers to set up a WiFi hotspot in London this summer, reports The Guardian, and buried some interesting terms in the fine print to sign on to the free network.

Included in the terms was a “Herod clause,” which granted free WiFi access if “the recipient agreed to assign their first born child to us for the duration of eternity.”

Six people will now have to hand their firstborn kids over to Rumpelstiltskin.

Just kidding, no one is going to take any babies for Wifi.

“We have yet to enforce our rights under the terms and conditions but, as this is an experiment, we will be returning the children to their parents,” wrote the security company, F-Score, in its report, adding that its legal advisor “points out that – while terms and conditions are legally binding – it is contrary to public policy to sell children in return for free services, so the clause would not be enforceable in a court of law.”

The experiment was aimed at highlighting just how serious people should take their own security while using public WiFi not protected by a password.

When the Herod clause was removed during another part of the experiment, 33 devices connected to the portable hotspot of unknown origin — which could be an easy way to let hackers in to your network, researchers say.

“It‘s a particularly disturbing development as recent research has shown that individuals can be accurately identified by using just the last four access points where they have logged on,” F-Secure’s report read.

The group advised using VPN software to encrypt data coming in and out of your device, or to turn off WiFi when in public and near untrusted hotspots, and to practice spinning straw into gold.

Londoners give up eldest children in public Wi-Fi security horror show [The Guardian]

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