Traveling's risky enough with delays and security lines and more, but you may not realize you're at risk from the Wi-Fi. You need it to get things done while you wait for your flight, but you don't need it to steal your data. Security company Coronet recently surveyed airports for Wi-Fi security risks. Here are the top five riskiest US airports for Wi-Fi.
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San Diego: It scored a perfect 10 on Coronet's scale. They found an SSID called SANfreewifi carrying out an ARP poisoning attack. Coronet estimates you had a 30% chance of connecting to at least a medium-risk Wi-Fi access point at the time they studied the airport.
John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, AKA Orange County: It's the airport to get to the happiest place on Earth, but you will not be happy if you don't use a VPN there and get hacked.
Houston Hobby Airport: This is the smaller airport to Houston Intercontinental, AKA George H W Bush airport. Hobby often has cheaper fares, but that doesn't mean you should cheap out on your protection. Maybe just tether to your wireless carrier there.
Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers: Oh all those spring breakers flying through and looking to 'gram. A feast of data for the hackers. You really want to make sure you're using https there.
Newark Liberty International Airport: If you can hack it there, you'll hack it anywhere. It's up to you to secure your ports!
By the way, let's give credit to Chicago-Midway International Airport, Raleigh Durham International Airport, Nashville International Airport, and Washington Dulles for having the safest scores. But you still should be careful, even there.
Remember folks, don't connect to just any Wi-Fi that looks respectable. It may be. But then again it may not.
- A winning strategy for cybersecurity (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)
- Air-gapping the planet: How to travel safely in digitally scary places (ZDNet)
- Take home along: How a VPN can help travelers connect wherever they go (ZDNet)
- Top 5: Ways to keep your data safe while traveling (TechRepublic)
- Follow these steps to protect yourself from cyberattacks while traveling (TechRepublic)
- The best travel tips: Packing hacks, cheap flights, securing your home and more (CNET)
Tom is an award-winning independent tech podcaster and host of regular tech news and information shows. Tom hosts Sword and Laser, a science fiction and fantasy podcast, and book club with Veronica Belmont. He also hosts Daily Tech News Show, covering the most important tech issues of the day with the smartest minds in technology.