NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Hacking is becoming more commonplace, and your data is not safer 30,000 miles up on in the air.
While surfing, shopping or sending emails aboard a flight is becoming more popular and is convenient as more airlines are adding Wi-Fi, your connection is just as insecure as hanging out in your local coffee shop.
Here are some common tips to avoid being hacked at the airport or during your flight.
If you are going to connect to a free wireless network, check to see if it is a secure, trusted hotspot operated by a known organization such a JetBlue, said Sergio Galindo, a general manager of GFI Software, a Durham, N.C. developer of IT solutions for small and medium-sized businesses.
Remain skeptical of suspicious-looking network names such as “Free Wi-Fi” or “AmAir2,” he said. Avoid logging into sensitive sites or engaging in mobile banking while on a free Wi-Fi network.
If you have to log-in through a website, make sure the site is secure and looks legitimate such as the fact that that everything is spelled correctly in the URL.
Paying for wireless connectivity does not mean it's secure. Other so-called “secure” Wi-Fi networks can still pose risks because they are difficult to manage. At some airports or airlines, those networks may not be managed at all, Galindo said.
“IT admins at airports often don’t have the time or resources to constantly monitor for intruders or interlopers,” he said. “It’s important to stay vigilant and follow data security best practices at all times.”