When you have several hours to wait for your flight at the airport, it's so natural that you use your smartphone, tablet or laptop. You might want to work with your files, documents or pictures, watch an interesting movie, read an e-book or play your favorite game offline without connecting to the Internet. But you might want to check your email and write a letter, post a message on Facebook, share a photo via Instagram or connect with your relatives via Skype. You might want to use an airport WiFi network as it is free and you don't have traffic limitations. But is it safe to do so?
You never know if the network is safe and the hotspot secured because if not, all the transmitted information is neither protected nor encrypted and can be stolen by a hacker. That information may include emails and passwords, the details of your credit cards or even the details of your trading accounts. When you connect to free WiFi access points from your device in a public place, you should pay special attention to the websites you visit and log in to, especially if they require passwords or your financial or any other personal data. Try to visit only trusted websites so as not to "catch" a virus or a trojan, because sometimes viruses and trojans may later send your information from your device to the hacker.
On the whole, to use public WiFi is rather secure if the information, that is transferred, is of low importance. Sometimes, though, you would better need to stay offline and the best solution for you will be to work with your documents without connecting to the Internet i.e. offline. To work offline is the surest way to keep your information safe. Why risk if in several hours after the flight you will be able to connect to a secure network at home?
There are two most common ways hackers may steal your private information when you use a public network:
Often people in airports can become easy victims of thieves or hackers because they are often tired and thus are rather inattentive. As far as the wireless network is concerned, it's often the case that an airport simply cannot afford to provide an appropriate level of protection to its WiFi network, because higher safety requires special technical possibilities and financial investments and it is not always affordable. It's true, that in some airports the situation with WiFi security is better than in the others, but it's hardly possible to find perfectly protected WiFi networks in public places.
If you need to do an important financial transaction that needs higher security, you'd better wait till you get home. It's ok if you use wireless airport network for playing games or web-surfing, i.e. doing something that doesn't concern your private data or transmitting your confidential business information, for example. But it's possible to make your connection to a public wireless network a bit safer if you try to stick to some simple but important tips.
Anyway, you should take necessary precautions to save your data using WiFi in all public places, not only in airports. It will be a good idea to install a trusted antivirus/antimalware program on your device and make frequent scans. You can choose a top rated antivirus, set it up and try it for free or you can use a paid version with full features of scanning and deleting viruses or trojans. To install an antivirus is a must, especially when you do financial transactions or keep some important data on your device.
To make your traffic secure and encrypted you can subscribe to a good VPN service. In case you are interested in higher security, you will have to choose a paid subscription. You will install the software on your device and it will encrypt your traffic and change your location (IP). That will allow you to protect your information from being intercepted by hackers.
To use a VPN instead of free WiFi in public places is a good idea.
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