Traveling by air can become incredibly boring, especially when lengthy layovers occur. Even though many modern airports have several amenities, such as extensive shops and restaurants, even small layovers can feel like hours. This is why many airports have begun offering their travelers free WiFi, either for the duration of the stay at the airport or for small, 30-minute increments. This seems like a great service; one that can bring peace to fighting families or entertain solo travelers during stops. However, many technological experts are now warning airport passenger about the dangers of WiFi at a few different airports across the globe.
Public WiFi is nothing like the internet you have at home, and it is very dangerous to treat it the same way. Private WiFi networks, such as the one at your home or office, typically involve the use of protected passwords and several types of encryption. This protects any information you enter or view online from being intercepted by third parties. For example, if you use online banking, a private network is what prevents everyone in your neighborhood from being able to access that information.
Public access networks, such as those available in airports, lack any security measures at all. Simply put, sending or receiving any personal information over public WiFi can put you at risk for identity theft or hacking attempts. Not all public networks are the same; some have tighter security measures than others, so it is a good idea to investigate the security of the network you may want to use whenever you travel.
Keeping Yourself Safe Online
This is not to say that you cannot use the WiFi at any airport ever. Smart WiFi use is completely acceptable. So, how can you stay safe? It takes forethought. Before you travel, spend some time thinking about your WiFi needs. In some cases, you may be able to prevent the need to use WiFi at all. For example, you could always download movies or shows on your laptop or tablet to keep you entertained without the need to connect to the internet at all.
If you are traveling for work or you simply cannot bear the thought of hanging around an airport without some WiFi access, consider using a virtual private network (VPN). There are numerous different ones available, all at varying price points. In some cases, you can even get a month free, so you can use the service while you travel and cancel when you return. Using a VPN like NordVPN or IP Vanish means that your computer connects to the internet through a third-party website, so to anyone monitoring your web traffic, it simply looks like you have only ever connected to one site. The data sent and received is encrypted, giving you an extra level f security.