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June 5, 2023

Pineapple Hacking: How Hackers Can Infiltrate Your WiFi

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Have you ever connected to an unsecured public WiFi network? You turn on WiFi, scan for available networks, select the name of the one you want to connect to, and voila, you've got internet access. After you've been connected once, each time your device encounters this network with WiFi turned on, you'll be automatically connected. While this is easy and convenient, how do you know it's safe?   

What Is a WiFi Pineapple? 

A WiFi Pineapple is a wireless network auditing tool. It is small, with several antennae protruding, loosely resembling a pineapple. The Pineapple can intercept network traffic between users and the internet, listening in on the communication and passing it along unchanged. Penetration testers commonly use the WiFi pineapple to search for weaknesses in the infrastructure and network of the organizations they are testing. Although it was developed as an ethical penetration testing tool, hackers often use the WiFi pineapple to perform adversary-in-the-middle attacks.   

An adversary-in-the-middle attack, previously referred to as a man-in-the-middle attack, is performed when a cybercriminal eavesdrops on communications between a user and a network. Any information sent in plaintext, meaning not encrypted, can be captured by the bad actor, including usernames and passwords.  

How Does a WiFi Pineapple Work? 

WiFi enabled devices continually search for the WiFi networks they know, broadcasting their names. The WiFi Pineapple can pick up on this information and impersonate the known networks in an attempt to get your device to connect to it. The Pineapple is connected to the internet so that once a user connects to it, it will broker a connection between them and the internet, while the end user is unaware that the device is sitting in the middle. With an easy-to-use interface and many prebuilt tools accessible, even inexperienced hackers can capture data as it flows from the user's device to the internet and back, including making false login pages to sites such as Facebook, Google, and Office365.  


Reduce the Likelihood of a WiFi Pineapple Attack  

Cyberattacks using WiFi Pineapples as hacking devices are silent and difficult to detect. The best way to protect yourself is to refrain from utilizing public WiFi completely, However, when that isn’t an option, the following steps can help reduce the risk of falling victim to a Pineapple attack.  

  • Turn off the WiFi on your device when you are not actively using it to help prevent it from automatically connecting to an unsecured network.  
  • Be aware that public WiFi networks are not secure. Anyone can easily connect to them, including hackers. 
  • Ensure you are using an encrypted communication protocol, HTTPS, instead of HTTP. This will ensure that your data is encrypted in transit. This is not foolproof, however, as there are tools by which bad actors can strip away the 'S,’ leaving your data unencrypted. 
  • Double check that the website you are connected to is the correct site, before entering your credentials. 
  • Ensure that you have MFA (multi-factor authentication) enabled on all accounts, then even if credentials are compromised, the bad actor will be unable to log in as they won’t have the device used for MFA to pair with the credentials. 
  • Protect your IT environment. Assume a mal actor will gain access to your network and harden your environment accordingly. Protect your servers with endpoint firewalls that will prevent all unauthorized devices from accessing them.  
  • Invest in your own mobile hotspot for more secure internet communications on the go. 
  • Avoid conducting business using WiFi. Connect to the network using an ethernet cable to reduce the risk of a bad actor intercepting your network connection, helping keep business functions secure.  


Ethical hackers, pen testers, and cyber criminals use WiFi Pineapples. Legitimately, Pineapples serve as a powerful network auditing tool. When weaponized, the same Pineapples can be used to spy on network communications, stealing sensitive data such as bank account numbers and passwords. It is imperative in today’s digital era to remain diligent. Understanding some of the hacking tools of the trade can help you to avoid falling victim to them. As the old adage goes, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Prevent your data from being intercepted by hackers to avoid the need to deal with data leak repercussions.   

Schedule a call today to see how ThreatLocker Network Control can be used to harden your business network environment.