In-flight Wi-Fi: A convenient feature or cyber threat?

Airplane Wi-Fi feels almost like a basic human need, especially in long, draining intercontinental flights. Airlines are well aware of this and are increasingly offering internet services to passengers on board their planes. However, no matter how much more enjoyable and productive a Wi-Fi can make your journey, it doesn’t come without risk. Bad actors can use the airplane Wi-Fi to obtain your personal information. Read the article to learn more about the pros and cons of in-flight Wi-Fi and how to protect your cybersecurity.

In flight Wi-Fi

The convenience of in-flight Wi-Fi

In-flight Wi-Fi provides extra convenience and may transform air travel into a more entertaining experience. Let’s look at how this technology can completely change the way people travel:

  • Staying connected. Sending emails, browsing social media, chatting with friends, or attending virtual meetings can help people make the most of their time in the air. These are advantages of an in-flight Wi-Fi that we can all relate to.
  • Entertainment options. The limited entertainment on flights is one of the hardest parts of air traveling. With internet access, you can watch movies and TV programs, browse forums, listen to music, or go shopping during your flight, making your onboard time more enjoyable.
  • Business productivity. Airplane Wi-Fi is a game-changer for business travelers. It allows people to stay productive, respond to important messages, and take business calls high up in the sky.
  • Real-time information. The ability to check your journey status or flight radar while in a transit flight over the Atlantic Ocean might be extra handy. You can also check weather updates and read the news headlines.

An in-flight Wi-Fi can enhance your overall air travel experience, giving you tools to distract yourself or stay productive even at 35,000 feet.

Wi-Fi on the Flight

The dangers of airplane Wi-Fi

No matter how convenient it is to have an internet connection on board, it doesn’t come without risks. Here are some main dangers lurking while connected to an in-flight Wi-Fi:

  • Unsecure networks. Airplane Wi-Fi routers have vulnerabilities that threat actors can exploit. If the criminal successfully gains unauthorized access to the network, they can monitor its activity, obtaining login credentials or banking information.
  • Eavesdropping threats. Connecting to in-flight Wi-Fi may expose you to various eavesdropping risks, such as man-in-the-middle attacks. These intrusions may allow criminals to collect enough information about you, leading to identity theft or even financial fraud.
  • Malware infection. Hackers sometimes carry out evil twin attacks by setting up fake Wi-Fi hotspots and tricking unsuspecting users into connecting. Once connected to this evil twin, bad actors can install malware or spyware into your device, potentially leading to a compromised device and sensitive data loss.
  • Cost. Airlines usually charge for in-flight Wi-Fi access, which can be much more expensive than usual internet services.
Flight Mode Smartphone

How to stay safe on in-flight Wi-Fi

If you must connect to an airplane Wi-Fi, take all the necessary precautions to avoid unauthorized hacker intervention in your networks or devices.

  • Use a VPN. Invest in a legitimate VPN with a wide range of servers and no-logs policy. It will encrypt your browsing traffic and IP address. It is a good practice for businesses to provide a reliable VPN for remote workers to protect their online activity and company data during travel.
  • Enable firewall. Set up a trustworthy firewall to protect your data from unauthorized access. Most operating systems have built-in firewalls, so make sure it is activated when connecting to Wi-Fi on board.
  • Update your software regularly. Ensure your operating system, software, and apps are up to date. The newest software versions usually contain the latest security patches against known vulnerabilities.
  • Use antivirus. Reliable antivirus may help you protect your device from malware and viruses lurking on airplane Wi-Fi.
  • Beware of banking transactions. Avoid connecting to your banking accounts and conducting transactions while connected to an in-flight Wi-Fi network.
  • Use strong passwords. Create complex passwords for your accounts, containing capital letters and special characters, that could make it hard for hackers to access your key accounts.

Employ these practices to protect your data from risks that come with in-flight Wi-Fi. These will protect your data from exposure and prevent identity theft.

Make sure you have everything you need

What to pack for your next trip?

Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
Check our travel checklist guide for 2021 to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and travel to your next destination in style and with maximum comfort.

One comment

  1. Staying connected is a huge benefit, especially for those of us who often need to catch up on work or stay in touch with loved ones while in the air. Being able to send emails, chat with friends, or even attend virtual meetings means I can make the most of my travel time and stay on top of things, no matter where I am.

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