Cybercriminals can attack tourists, or rather their data, at the airport if unsuspecting travelers connect to public Wi-Fi. Travel risk expert Claudia Gualdi details what can happen when using a public unsecured network and how to check the security of your wireless LAN.
Many travelers connect to Wi-Fi at the airport to shorten the time before boarding their flight. However, this could leave them vulnerable to attacks by cybercriminals, experts said. Yes, Claudia Gualdi, head of travel data collection, emphasized that public Wi-Fi networks, including those in airports, are not completely secure and can be accessed by anyone. With thousands of travelers simultaneously connected to the same network, the risk increases.
Types of threats are different
Connecting to public Wi-Fi at the airport is at risk of a variety of cyber threats, including identity and banking theft, unauthorized email access, password theft, and malware from infected downloads.
The expert also pointed to more sophisticated attacks, such as a “man-in-the-middle” attack that allows hackers to eavesdrop on messages, as well as an “interception attack” in which a hacker can extract unprotected data from a user’s device.
How to protect yourself as a tourist?
To minimize risks, the expert suggested following seven tips:
- Choose the right connection. Make sure that the tourist is connected to the official Wi-Fi of the airport by clarifying the exact name with the staff. This will help you avoid connecting to fake networks created by hackers. “Wi-Fi networks with similar names are very common in airports,” she explained.
- Turn off automatic connection to public hotspots in the device settings. Using a VPN. Using a virtual private network (VPN) will hide your IP address and encrypt data sent and received over the Internet.
- Install anti-virus software. This is additional protection against malicious attacks.
- Preferably choose networks that require a password for access.
- Do not perform important operations on a public network. For example, banking transactions or sending sensitive data.
- Avoid visiting dubious sites. The specialist recommended visiting only pages with “https” and a lock symbol in the address bar.
- Turn it off immediately after use.