While waiting for your flight to board, you connect your device to the Wi-Fi without a second thought. Using the official airport Wi-Fi doesn’t seem like a big deal, but you may have unknowingly jeopardized your private information.
Risks Of Using Airport Wi-Fi
Is airport Wi-Fi safe? Using the airport’s free Wi-Fi comes with a variety of risks. You may have malicious actors using the same network to steal data from you and sell it on the dark web. Even without hackers, the airport network may collect data on you to sell to third parties.
Some of the many risks of using airport Wi-fi are listed below.
High-traffic areas where there is free wifi, attract hackers. Hackers will set up a network under a similar name to the actual network name to trick users into connecting to their network. Once achieved, all the personal data users put into their devices goes straight to the hacker. Depending on the information divulged, malicious actors can steal your identity or log into more of your accounts.
Obtaining Personal Information
The airport networks don’t have to host malicious actors for your information to be collected and sold. Unless you have taken measures to prevent tracking your devices, some networks automatically collect information from the connected devices.
Man In The Middle Attack
The hacker conducts a man-in-the-middle attack to steal personal information. A man-in-the-middle attack is when a hacker places himself in the middle of a conversation between a user and an application. He then either eavesdrops or pretends to be one of the parties.
How To Stay Safe Using Airport Wifi
Utilize A VPN
A VPN (virtual private network) connection hides your IP address and protects your data by establishing a secure, encrypted connection between your device and the internet. A safe and encrypted connection makes it difficult for malicious actors to conduct cyber attacks on you.
Use Your Hotspot
Using your phone’s hotspot allows you to surf the web without sacrificing privacy and security.
To turn on your phone’s hotspot:
For iOS users:
- Go to Settings.
- Click Personal Hotspot.
For Android users:
- Go to Network & Internet.
- Click Hotspot & Tethering.
- Click Wi-Fi Hotspot.
Use SSL Connections
SSL is short for “secure sockets layer.” Websites protect sensitive information being sent between systems using SSL connections. Be sure to click or enable the “Always Use HTTPS” option on websites you visit.
If you’re visiting a website that requires you to log in, reconsider if you need to see that website at that moment. Many people reuse their usernames and passwords, and just by intercepting one password, a hacker may be able to gain access to multiple accounts.
Turn Off Bluetooth And Sharing
Prevent malicious actors from being able to send you files that could contain malware or viruses by turning off file-sharing. Remember to turn off Bluetooth to prevent hackers from connecting to your device.
Don’t Open Or Send Private Information
If you must use the airport Wi-Fi, use it with caution. The more connections you make on an unsecured Wi-Fi network, the more chances you give hackers to intercept your sensitive information. That means waiting to check your credit card balance or opening a sensitive file.
Use An Antivirus
Antivirus does not protect you from all the dangers listed in this article, but it does help protect your device from malware and viruses. It’s recommended to protect yourself and your device by using an antivirus.
A firewall prevents unauthorized access into or out of a secure network, protecting you from unsafe internet connections. Many users disable their firewall due to “connectivity” issues or wanting to download a file that the firewall is blocking. However, too many users forget to re-enable the firewall afterward. That’s why a disabled firewall could make you an easy target for hackers.
If You Have An iPhone, Ensure “Private Address” Is On.
Apple’s iOS 14 update included an option to connect to Wi-Fi networks using a “private address.” A private address prevents your device’s data from being tracked and collected. Read our article for more information on enabling “Private Address.”
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