Connecting to the internet when you are on a plane could be putting your personal data at risk according to security experts.
According to data from Inmarsat, a British satellite telecommunications company, 80 per cent of people would use inflight Wi-Fi if it was available on their next flight. More than 65 per cent of people who had access to it used it in the last year.
But experts say that security on these inflight hotspots is falling short. Daniel Markuson, a digital privacy expert at NordVPN, says that while they are convenient, travellers need to watch out when hooking up to hotspots in the sky.
“While free Wi-Fi is nice to have while flying for both business and leisure travellers, the convenience of being able to browse thousands of feet up in the air has its own price if certain measures are not taken.”
“This is because inflight Wi-Fi networks are the prime targets for hackers because many of them fall short even with the most basic security measures,” he explains.
“That’s why it’s crucial to take certain steps to ensure your security while using these types of networks.”
How can you protect yourself while using inflight Wi-Fi?
Disable automatic connections
If you use public Wi-Fi a lot, then your phone might automatically join any open network - even if you weren’t planning to connect. Switching off the automatic connection function on your device could help keep you safe.
Don’t log in to any sensitive accounts
If you are connecting to a public network then don’t access any accounts that have sensitive information. If hackers are targeting these networks then they could pick up your details.
Connect to official airline or network provider
Make sure you are connecting to the Wi-Fi offered inflight and not any networks designed to look official and steal your data.
Check the legitimacy of the website when entering any sensitive data
Before you enter any sensitive information, such as bank details or personal data, make sure the website or payment gateway has an HTTPS URL. The ‘s’ means that it is a secure protocol and your data is encrypted.
But also be cautious about any site asking for excessive amounts of personal information when using inflight Wi-Fi as it could be an attempt to steal your personal data.
Use a VPN
VPNs send your traffic through an encrypted “tunnel” that makes it extremely difficult to decipher or intercept. Using one when browsing on inflight Wi-Fi will provide you with encryption on the go.