Privacy, Security & Virus Information
Using and Sharing Airport Wi-Fi Safely
We all know how boring airports can be, especially when you have to check in three or four hours before your flight takes off for security reasons. And, with the popularity of laptops, tablet devices and netbooks, it’s no surprise that airport Wi-Fi has been a hit with most travellers. However, such public networks do have drawbacks, and some can be very detrimental to your online security. As a result, this article contains some handy hints on staying safe when checking in and logging on.
1. Change your notification settings
Many laptops, tablets and other such gadgets are configured to automatically lock on to the nearest Wi-Fi signal. However, in airports, this can be dangerous, as hackers will be looking for easy access to the personal details on your device. Therefore, you should manually change the settings on your device, so that you are asked (or at least notified) when your device wants to connect to a Wi-Fi network. Changing this setting is very easy to do, and it’s easy to revert back to your usual preferences once you’ve got a safe, secure connection at home.
2. Do you know who you are sharing with?
If, like many households across Britain, your house contains more than one computer, then they may be set up to automatically “share” files with one another. Although this can be harmless when you’re at home, you should definitely disable any “sharing” occurring on your device if you’re at the airport. Leaving it on would leave yet another door open for potential hackers.
3. Browse selectively
If you choose to use the airport Internet connection, be careful what you do with it. Try to avoid accessing your online bank account or any other particularly sensitive information, as despite your best attempts, hackers may still be able to gain access to your browsing data. Checking your Facebook every now and again is fine, but try avoiding any sites that contain or require a large amount of personal information.
As with every advisory article about the Internet, we cannot stress enough how important newly-updated versions of anti-virus software and firewalls are for your computer’s security – especially when you’re using a public network like airport Wi-Fi.
5. Only use official airport Wi-Fi services
Check and double-check the name of the airport’s Internet connection before you choose to connect to it. Ask at customer service if you’re unsure of which network is the official airport Wi-Fi, and if in doubt, refrain from using the service altogether. Hackers can create their own, legitimate looking Wi-Fi networks and, if you unwittingly join one, your browsing history and private data could become susceptible to attack.