Do YOU know the dangers of using airport Wi-Fi? Travel risk expert reveals how hackers can attack before your flight

Many travellers connect with airport Wi-Fi whereas ready to board a flight, whether or not to get some work carried out or for some mild leisure to assist go the hours.

However as innocent as it could appear, utilizing this Wi-Fi may depart you susceptible to assaults by cybercriminals. 

Fortunately, there are methods to guard your self. Talking to MailOnline Journey, Claudia Gualdi, Journey Intelligence Information Lead for Riskline, a Copenhagen-based agency that gives danger assessments for tons of of journey locations world wide, reveals all…


Gualdi notes that free airport Wi-Fi is handy for travellers as a result of it is usually too costly to make use of cellular knowledge when travelling abroad. Nevertheless, she says that ‘no public Wi-Fi community is totally safe, particularly as a result of it may be accessed by anybody’ and ‘at airports, the danger is even larger as a result of 1000’s of travellers navigate on the identical time on the identical community’.

Gualdi says it’s ‘tough’ to know the way regularly these assaults happen, however a survey carried out by Forbes Advisor earlier this 12 months discovered that 40 per cent of respondents had their data compromised whereas utilizing public Wi-Fi. Of that group, 23 per cent reported that it occurred at an airport.


Gualdi explains: ‘Customers of unsecure airport Wi-Fi are susceptible to several types of cyber threats like id and financial institution data theft, unauthorised entry to emails, password theft or malware from contaminated downloads.’

She says that ‘there are additionally dangers of much more advanced assaults’. One instance is a ‘man-in-the-middle assault’, which ‘permits hackers to listen in on communications’. One other is a ‘sniffing assault’, wherein ‘unprotected knowledge will be extracted’ out of your gadget by the hacker.


‘It’s laborious to confirm the security of every Wi-Fi we’re connecting to, however there are some ideas which might be price conserving in thoughts,’ Gualdi reveals.

Her first tip is to make sure you’re logging into the right Wi-Fi. She says: ‘At airports, it is vitally widespread to search out Wi-Fi networks with related names. Travellers ought to be sure that they’re connecting to the official one, by asking airport employees for the exact title.’

She continues: ‘This can allow people to keep away from “evil twin assault”, which is when a hacker creates a Wi-Fi reference to an identical title to the official one, with a purpose to appeal to individuals to hook up with the community and due to this fact act illegally.’

Adrianus Warmenhoven, a cybersecurity professional at NordVPN, elaborates on this, saying: ‘If a traveler connects to such a hotspot, all their private data (together with bank card particulars, personal emails and varied credentials) will probably be despatched to a hacker.’ 

‘Customers of unsecure airport Wi-Fi are susceptible to several types of cyber threats like id and financial institution data theft, unauthorised entry to emails, password theft or malware from contaminated downloads,’ says journey danger professional Claudia Gualdi

One other tip is to ‘stop a tool from routinely connecting to a hotspot’. Gualdi says: ‘This may be carried out by disabling options similar to “auto join” for public hotspots.’ She provides that as ‘an additional precaution, the [Wi-Fi] community will be faraway from Wi-Fi settings after use, in order that the gadget doesn’t routinely reconnect to it sooner or later’. 

Gualdi says that it’s safer to hook up with hotspots that require a password in the event that they’re obtainable. She says: ‘Additionally it is greatest to keep away from “open” or “unsecured” networks.’

One other option to shield your self, she notes, is to ‘use a VPN which hides the IP deal with and encrypts all the info that’s despatched or acquired over the web’.

On prime of that, she recommends putting in antivirus software program in your gadget for boosted safety.

And although it’s doubtless not an choice for travellers in abroad airports, Gualdi says that in case you can, connect with cellular knowledge as a substitute of utilizing a free community.


Whereas related to airport Wi-Fi, Gualdi recommends you go to web sites which have ‘“https” and the padlock icon firstly of the URLs’ as this ‘implies that the connection is safe and secure for the person and that the knowledge you ship is encrypted and can’t be intercepted’.

It is really helpful you put in antivirus software program in your gadget for boosted safety whereas travelling

What sort of searching is greatest averted whereas utilizing airport Wi-Fi? She says: ‘Basically, it’s advisable to not handle delicate data whereas searching on a public free community, like doing banking transactions.

‘Working with a public community may additionally expose credentials and essential knowledge if employees are utilizing work platforms, sending essential emails or paperwork.’

Typically, she says it’s greatest to ‘keep away from transmitting data that you don’t want to be disclosed to an undesired or unauthorised celebration’.

Once more, Gualdi notes that utilizing a VPN ‘will be very useful’ if you wish to shield your self whereas working in your gadget within the airport.

She provides that it’s ‘essential to keep away from accessing a website if a browser shows a warning message’. 


Gualdi says that whereas the culpability of the airport within the occasion of a cyber assault is tough to find out, ‘airports ought to improve and provide the most effective cybersecurity for the travellers’. 

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