How many times have you been at a store or restaurant and they have free WiFi? Now, how often do you actually look at the name of the network? Many times we just connect to them near blindly, or at least without looking at it in detail. At some locations you will find an access point, of course it is an open network, and the business does not even offer in store WiFi.
A few days ago I went to a Waffle House and they have free WiFi, so for fun I turned the wireless on my tablet, there was two networks avaIlable. One of these was stronger than the other, one of these was the real one and the other one was a rogue access point that was run from the hotel next door.
The name of the rogue access point was names Waffle House Guest. This access point was sitting there waiting for people to connect, masquerading as the real access point. I could tell that the other access point was the genuine article because it had individual isolation, the rogue access point did not nor did it have any of the standard protections. There were a total of 25 devices connected to that network, most of those devices were phones but about five were laptops.
After doing a short package capture, I found it very interesting after looking at the capture that someone was logging into their bank. Most of the people were logged into their email and social media accounts, although many of them were actual secure connections, some were not.The reality is that when you connect to someone's network they legally look at everything you do on your network. Most, if not all, of the companies that offer free WiFi are not looking at what you are doing. Now the rogue access point is another story, they are their just to get what they can from you while you are connected. By connecting to their access point you are giving them that permission to view whatever you are doing, now what they do with it many times is not.
CompTIA A+, Network+