In short, no, it isn’t. But it’s not just airport Wi-Fi, though: every public Wi-Fi hotspot shares the same vulnerabilities. The thing with Wi-Fi hotspots, including those operated by cafes, restaurants and other establishments within airports, is that there’s really no way to tell who is accessing that network and with what intentions. Considering that an airport is one of the busiest places of the world, they are also one of the favorite spots of hackers to collect as much people’s information as possible with relative ease. Unsecure airport Wi-Fi hotspots not only allow criminals to steal your identity and can even change your flight details, but they can also launch DDoS or ransomware attacks to cripple the entire network, turning everything upside down.
Airports: Online Bullies’ Playground
We cannot emphasize enough that you should never be lax when it comes to your online privacy, particularly if you manage crucial data online, such as bank accounts or personal/work related affairs. This is why unsecure public Wi-Fi networks are true danger zones: while connected thereto, criminals might see what you do online by simply using the network’s security breaches. Then all they need to do is install malicious software on your computer/mobile device to collect your sensitive data such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, email and search history. And yes, even accessing your social media account just to pass some time and visit unencrypted sites (if you are especially careless) means you pretty much enter the “green mile” and handle your precious data on a silver plate to the hackers.
However, all of the above was just the beginning of a true nightmare. Connecting to an unsecure Wi-Fi hotspot is one thing, but what is much worse is if you end up connecting to a fake Wi-Fi hotspot, an “evil twin” created by hackers. All the hackers need is a device to create a fake network, often bearing the exact same name as their real counterparts, either having the same password or no password at all. This way the fake hotspot becomes virtually indistinguishable from the real one. What’s worse is that hackers often boost the signal of the fake Wi-Fi too so you feel more tempted to connect to it. The point is, once you connect to the evil twin, your data from login info, previously visited pages to your search history becomes clear as water to them.
But it’s not just hackers who have questionable intentions. Quite sadly even airports and other seemingly sincere Wi-Fi providers can trace your online activity and use the freshly acquired information for targeting you with specific ads, generating revenue for the actual physical place whose Wi-Fi you used for “free”.
Accessing Public Wi-Fi Securely
Either you’re a professional on the go or just travel by plane occasionally, there’s something you simply cannot forget to pack: a VPN. A Virtual Private Network allows you to safely surf on the internet even if you are forced to use an unsafe network. Your data is not only encrypted, but it is also completely inaccessible to any hacker or eavesdropper. So next time you have to wait for your flight, you can rest assured that no matter what Wi-Fi you have connected to, you’re 100% safe and you remain completely anonymous.
Best VPN Services of 2023
|Editor's Choice 2023
Get the Best VPN Deals
Want to stay up to date on the latest VPN news and discounts? Get exclusive offers and deals sent straight to your inbox!