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Airport Public Wi-Fi: How to Protect Your Identity at Public Hotspots

Airport Public Wi-Fi: How to Protect Your Identity at Public Hotspots

The airport is never a fun place to be, even if you like to travel. Travelers can end up stuck at an airport for hours on end, waiting for a connecting flight or a storm to pass, or worse. Over the past few years, travelers have had the luxury of enjoying free Wi-Fi at the airport which can help pass the time and keep you entertained before you board your flight. However, it can also be a very dangerous pastime if you are not careful.

Over the years, we all have become accustomed to logging on to free Wi-Fi spots and checking our social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. We also send files to clients, accept PayPal payments, and might even make a credit card payment or see to other personal needs. Unfortunately this can be more dangerous than most of us might think. Recently, Wi-Fi connections at free hotspots have become a hot zone for identity theft because they are not encrypted. Many users are unaware that that connection is unsecure and a simple credit card payment changes their life forever, or become a severe disadvantage when you have to change your card number. It is very important for travelers to stay safe while online at a public airport. Below are a few tips that you can follow to keep your identity safe.
internet security

Check The Network Name

The first thing you should do is always check the network name before signing on to WiFi at an airport. Any name that says something like ‘Free Wi-Fi’ might not be legit and could be monitored by hackers. You should also check the airport website before arriving to check about the security offered with their Wi-Fi services, as well as for the real name. Usually the name will be the same as the airport name.

Check URL line for security purposes

It is also important to check the URL line when visiting websites, especially personal ones you want to make sure the URL line has ‘https://’ which means secured encrypted page. This will allow for the transfer of private information in a safe manner meaning that you can use information such as your credit card information or bank account without losing it to hackers.

Stay Secure

It is very important that you stay secure. Keep your laptop off when you are not using the airport internet. Try to connect to a virtual private network if one is available. Make sure that you use only a secure email address so that you do not transmit login information. Outlook is one that will transfer information non-securely so try avoiding it. Also make sure that you have a firewall turned on and that your virus protection is in place and up to date. This will allow you to catch any issues with malware or viruses that may occur while you are online.

Other Important Tips:

  • Stay away from computer to computer network indicators
  • Turn off file sharing
  • Watch out for automatic connection to certain networks
  • Be aware of Fake Hotspots. These hot spots tend to have stronger signals than a real spot
  • Wi-Fi Protected Access is your best bet for online safety
  • Read the ‘terms of service’ for the particular hotspot to be sure that you know the service you are using
  • Do not expose any personal information that you are not ready to lose
  • Use a virtual private network so that your information is transmitted over a secure channel

Overall, it is important to be aware of your surroundings wherever you are. Make sure the connection you are using is secure. If you are unsure, stay offline or at least stay away from anything that involves personal information.

Author Bio:

Tiffany is a tech writer and guest blogger for Guest Door, a website with a Traveler’s Guide to Preventing Identity Theft. Visit the site to learn more.

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About Guest Blogger

This article was written by a guest author for The High Tech Society. Their personal bio will be posted at the bottom of their article.