Yet ANOTHER Thing to Be Wary of at Airports

PHOTO: Roger Schultz / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Sorry! Everything is bad!

Being at the airport is not exactly an enjoyable experience if you’ve got time to kill, but at least you’ve got the free Wi-Fi offered by most of them to pass the time getting work done or just entertaining yourself with the magic of the internet. That said, here is some bad news for you (sorry). We already told you that you shouldn’t use the USB outlets at airports, which is inconvenient enough, but a new study shows that you also should avoid the free Wi-Fi offered at the airport.

Now, this isn’t exactly new information, honestly. Airports are an easy target for cybercriminals, with so many people in one place, and it has always been a frequent piece of advice from your dad that you shouldn’t use public and free Wi-Fi connections, generally. But do we listen? No, of course not. As stated by CEO and co-founder at Keeper Security, Darren Guccione, “A lot of people ignore the risks. They want to get online. They want to get some work done, but at the end of the day they’re running a risk of getting breached.”

Alan / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

And a recent report from Norton Wi-Fi Risk Report solidifies this. They surveyed thousands of people who used public Wi-Fi regularly and found that most people don’t blink an eye at what they connect to, as long as it gets them online. In fact, 53% of people said they can’t even tell a “secure” and “insecure” network apart.

It has always been a frequent piece of advice from your dad that you shouldn’t use public and free Wi-Fi connections.

This is bad because it was also recently reported that most of the free (as well as paid) Wi-Fi networks at busy airports do, indeed, pose risk, and hundreds of thousands of people have had data collected from their devices simply by connecting to the network.

So, what do you do? You need your phone. You’re completely disconnected from the world without internet service and it’s not like turning off your Wi-Fi and going off your own data is going to work inside of an airport (unless you’re…some sort of magical being with an angelic phone service I don’t know about). Well, you have a few options. You can use your phone’s personal hotspot, which most smartphones have. If you choose to do this, it’s probably a good idea to have your phone plugged in and charging (but not using the airport USB plugs, of course). You can also use a VPN (virtual private network) when using public Wi-Fi, which is a service that, for a fee, will create sort of a protective barrier around your data. So listen to your dad. Just don’t tell him you’re taking his advice or you’ll never hear the end of it.