Forbes Lists 5 Ways That Being Internet-Free On A Plane Is Better For Your Security


A Plane Is Better For Your SecurityHow much personal information are you willing to sacrifice in order to hop onto in-flight WiFi?

In a new Forbes article, the author wrote that during a recent flight he had the opportunity “to think about all the other ways we blindly trust that our information will stay private in order to take advantage of modern conveniences…can we ever really be sure they have no desire to learn more about us than we deem appropriate? Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding no.”

So what does he recommend we give up during a flight in his recent article? The first is online shopping, which he deems as a quick way to “turn your laptop into a transmitter of personally identifying information.” The second is online banking, which can “expose everything from your checking account to your retirement savings to would-be thieves.” The third — email — can result in phishing or spear-phishing in order to hijack your contact list, while the fourth — social media — broadcasts to would-be burglars that you’re not at home. The final in-flight no-no is keeping all of your electronic gadgets out and in plain view — there’s nothing wrong with keeping them safely tucked inside a carry-on bag for the duration of the flight.

Becoming An Invisible Flyer

It was recently reported that even experienced travelers are clueless about the security risks of in-flight WiFi. Did you know that paid WiFi hotspots aren’t any more secure than paid hotspots on the ground? What’s worse, almost 30% of airline passengers have accidentally left their mobile devices on during flights, according to a study by the Airline Passenger Experience Association and the Consumer Electronics Association.

The reality is, wireless signals on an airplane are no different than wireless signals bouncing around Starbucks. Typically the in-flight WiFi authentication system used to charge passengers for Internet access is not fully secure. This means that anyone who knows how to spoof a MAC address can use the purchaser’s MAC address to piggyback on the service for free. Further, your device will continue searching for in-flight networks even after you leave the airplane.

What’s the only way you can become an invisible in-flight flyer? The answer is to use a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt the sensitive information on your mobile devices. Using a personal VPN like Private WiFi really is the only way to protect yourself from a privacy invasion or hack attack in a WiFi hotspot, no matter where your travels take you.


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Elaine Rigoli

Elaine Rigoli is PRIVATE WiFi's manager of digital content strategy.