In-flight Wi-Fi has become a convenient and accessible feature for travelers. With two-thirds of airlines now offering Wi-Fi and usage up 1,600% since 2013, why wouldn’t you join thousands of others in surfing the skies?
The Real Risk of Connecting to In-Flight Wi-Fi
Despite the convenience and growing popularity of in-flight Wi-Fi, it presents the perfect opportunity for hackers. First, you never know who’s on that flight. And with hundreds of passengers browsing the public web with nowhere to go for hours (and endless personal info readily available) — it's a hackers dream scenario.
Cybersecurity expert and CSG CEO Scott Spiro weighed in on the security discussion in a report by KTLA 5. Here are some tips he recommends for securely browsing from the air:
Use a hardware firewall
With a hardware firewall, your traffic goes through a secure channel so no one can see your web activity. You can buy a small, portable firewall online and easily carry it on any flight.
Check your connectivity settings
Locking into public Wi-Fi is another security threat. Before boarding, make sure to remove public networks you’ve used in the past and turn off your computer settings to automatically connect to a network. These precautions will prevent you from unknowingly connecting to potentially compromised networks and putting yourself — and your confidential information — at risk.
Ultimately, the question is: “How secure do you need to be on that flight and how bad do you ned to use the Internet?” Scott says.
If you’re worried about a potential breach when browsing the web mid-flight, your safest bet is to refrain from using it. If that isn’t realistic, these simple steps can reduce your vulnerability.