In-flight Wi-Fi a security risk

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Tuesday, 18 October, 2016

In-flight Wi-Fi a security risk

In-flight Wi-Fi is becoming a must for business travellers on the go, but its growing popularity is making the environment an attractive staging ground for cybercriminals.

As of last year, there were 52 airlines worldwide offering in-flight internet, according to NordVPN. But users taking advantage of the function need to be aware of the security implications.

There is no password protection on the Wi-Fi connection, so anyone can intercept data being transmitted on the wireless network.

Hacking devices are also available that are small enough to be stored in carry-on luggage and can imitate a Wi-Fi connection, so users unwittingly connect to this device rather than an airline’s in-flight internet.

To protect their data and securely connect to the internet it is critical that travellers correctly designate Wi-Fi networks as public networks, to ensure their device is not visible to other computers, NordVPN said.

Using a VPN service to encrypt all traffic flow between the internet and a device can also help mitigate the security risk.

The in-flight Wi-Fi market is currently dominated by Gogo, which uses both cellular and satellite based technology. Its two major rivals ViaSat and GEE use satellites exclusively.

Image courtesy of Moto "Club4G" Miwa under CC

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