While waiting around at an airport may seem like an ideal time to check your emails, social media activity or even pay some last minute bills or travel costs, the truth is that it’s one of the least secure places to be online. Even more so when using the free airport wifi.
Just think of all the people from far and wide visiting airports. It only takes one sneaky cyber criminal to access your data and wreak havoc on your holiday.
It’s the perfect place for hackers to hang about hoping for an opening. There are also plenty of phishers about who set up fake wifi hotspots where unsuspecting travellers will connect and, within minutes, could have their identities stolen or their bank accounts emptied.
However, with a few precautions and these tips, you should be safe when surfing at airports.
1. Only use recognised networks
Airports do provide free wifi, and they can be relatively safe to use, provided you know it’s a real wifi hotspot. If in doubt, ask an airport staff member or airline official. And never use public wifi to pay bills, enter user names and passwords or use any online payment platforms, such as PayPal.
2. Look behind your shoulder
There are myriad ways for hackers to steal your personal and financial data, but the simplest is for them to look over your shoulder. It may sound inane, but when entering any important information, look over your shoulder to make sure no one is looking over yours.
3. Disconnect after using
If you do use airport wifi, make sure you disconnect when you’ve finished using the network and switch off your wifi to prevent any malicious activity.
4. Use strong passwords
Your date of birth or your partner’s name might make for an easy-to-remember password, but they’re also easily identifiable by clever hackers, especially ones with prying eyes or big ears. Using strong passwords – ones with a mix of symbols, numerals, and lower and upper case letters – are your best insurance against being hacked. Try these tips for a perfect password.
5. Use a VPN
For those looking for extra security, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is in order. A VPN allows you to create a secure network within a network and keep your communications secure and encrypted.
6. Back it up
Before leaving for your holiday, ensure that all your devices are backed up, in case they do manage to go missing. Backing up to the cloud is a good idea, too. That way, if you need to pick up a new device you can access your contacts, data and any other necessary information to keep you on your way.
Do you feel safe when using airport wifi?
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