If You Want to Be Safe When Using Airport Wi-Fi, Follow These Tips
If you travel often and jumping from one airport to the next is almost a routine, you might be relying on airport Wi-Fi to manage your work affairs, or contact your family, friends, and business partners. You might be using airport Wi-Fi to kill time whilst waiting for that boarding call too. Without a doubt, those who use public Internet connection often are at bigger risk, but it is enough to connect to vulnerable Wi-Fi once to expose yourself to security issues. Therefore, whether you are a frequent flyer or you visit airports rarely, you want to learn how to be safe. Unfortunately, airport Wi-Fi is not safe in all cases, and you really need to think about your security every time you connect to it.
Beware: Airport Wi-Fi is not always safe
We already know that our data is not always safe. The data breaches that affected Air Canada and British Airways and that forced users to change passwords have proven that. The truth of the matter is that our data security is not always in our hands. Of course, if you are mindful about the companies you trust and the services you use, you can minimize the chances of becoming a victim of a data leak. That being said, no one can guarantee 100% security. This is why it is so important that you do take measures where you can, and airport Wi-Fi is one of the things you can manage in a safe manner if you know how to do it. Unfortunately, airport Wi-Fi is not safe in every case, and it might be impossible to know when a Wi-Fi connection is safe and when it is not. Although a recent report from Wired.com claims that public Wi-Fi in such places as hotels and airports has become much safer, you still want to take measures that would guarantee your virtual security.
How to stay safe using airport Wi-Fi
The following tips apply to all public Wi-Fi spots, and you can and should apply them when using Wi-Fi in restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, hospitals, libraries, bus stations, etc.
- Before you leave the safe haven of your home – check these tips if you want to learn how to protect your Wi-Fi network at home – you need to make sure that your device (e.g., laptop or smartphone) and operating system you use are up to snuff. Make sure you are running the latest version of the OS, as that could influence the system’s vulnerability levels. Download all available updates too. Finally, do not forget to download a legitimate security program or app to help you protect your device against malware and security threats.
- Download a trusted VPN app/program. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and it can provide you with a blanket of security when connecting via public Wi-Fi as, when using a VPN, all of your data is encrypted. Although VPNs, just like anything else, cannot ensure that your device is absolutely impenetrable, it creates a barrier against cyber criminals, and they have to work much harder to break through. If you wish to learn more about VPN, continue reading here.
- Once you connect to the airport Wi-Fi and enable VPN, stay cautious when you browse the web. Whether you are using your laptop or a phone browser, make sure that the sites you visit have HTTPS encryption. Although cyber attackers have been known to fake the green padlock icon that indicates HTTPS, it is still important that you browse only those websites that are deemed safe. If you do this, attackers will have a much harder time stealing personal and sensitive information.
- Just in case someone manages to breach your virtual security barriers, you need to be prepared. Most important, set up strong passwords for your accounts so that they could not be read easily by malware. We also do not recommend storing passwords on browsers because that is not always safe. You also want to set up two-factor authentication in case hackers guess or steal the password and try to access your account without your permission. Make sure you are vigilant too. If you notice unauthorized posts, messages, or emails, someone must have hacked your accounts.
If you are afraid of security threats while using airport Wi-Fi, keep your laptop, phone and other devices in your bag. You can always read a good book, stroll through the shops, or grab something to eat while killing time. Alternatively, you can use portable Wi-Fi devices or use mobile data, but that can be cost-ineffective. OR you can just follow the tips above. As long as you are prepared for what might come, you are ready to face off cyber attackers. Of course, if you set all security barriers in place, you will not need to face attackers at all. If you are traveling with friends or colleagues, advise them to take care of their virtual security too, and if you are traveling with family, make it your responsibility to secure their devices.
Whether you go through an airport once or you practically live there, you need to take certain security measures if you want to connect to airport Wi-Fi, and we suggest you start preparing before you leave home. It is crucial that your device is up-to-date because if there are no security gaps and vulnerabilities, you have much better chances of keeping yourself safe. It is also advisable that you employ VPN to encrypt data and that you think before you visit any website via your web browser. Also, remember that while you want to see the green padlock in the address bar, that is not always an indication that the site is safe. Needless to say, it is best to leave online shopping and online banking affairs for a later time, when you can connect to a safe Internet network. It is important to set up two-factor authentication and create strong passwords too because if your security is breached, you want to ensure that attackers cannot get through.