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Warning about airport wifi - "most likely to be hacked" list

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I came across an article published by The Points Guy (July 18 2018) and thought it is worth sharing this information.  A cybersecurity company completed a study of airport public networks and found they "are often unencrypted, insecure or improperly configured.....Fortunately, the folks at Coronet identified which airports have the most vulnerable networks. To rank airports by their threat level, Coronet collected data from more than 250,000 consumer and corporate endpoints that traveled through the 45 busiest US airports over the course of five months. Then, it analyzed the vulnerability of devices and risk of networks used and assigned each airport a threat index score."

 

"The data revealed San Diego (SAN) was the worst airport for passengers’ cybersecurity. Hackers set up an “Evil Twin” hotspot with the name “#SANfreewifi” at the airport to trick users into connecting to it, ultimately gaining access to all of the files that the victims downloaded or uploaded while they are connected. There was a similar event at Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), one of Southwest’s major focus cities, where attackers created a network named “SouthwestWiFi.” That airport came in third place. Coming in at fifth is United’s biggest hub, Newark (EWR), followed by American Airlines hub Phoenix (PHX) in seventh and Delta hub Detroit (DTW) in ninth."

 

airports-10.jpg?fit=2048%2C2048px&ssl=1

So very sad to see that SAN made it to the top of the list.  I guess my days of hopping onto airport wifi just ended.  My personal hotspot will be the "go to" mode of connecting in the future.  

 

Thanks to Benji Stawski for his article with those of us who follow The Points Guy.  Another valuable read.

Edited by cruisin lady ca

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Anyone who uses "public" wifi and does not utilize a VPN is just asking for trouble.  It's like leaving the keys in your car and a sign saying "The doors are unlocked".

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Thanks for sharing this article.

 

More often than not, I've found the "free" airport wifi connections to be extremely slow.  I usually now just have my phone "forget" these networks, and simply use my ATT connection.  My data usage is probably less than a lot of people, so for me it's not going to "break the bank" if I skip the free wifi option.

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I started using an app on my phone that I use on my home computer:  Roboform.  It's a highly encrypted password "digital locker", for lack of a more technical term to describe it.  I absolutely loooove this app, and it gives me great peace of mind.

 

On my iphone it can only be opened with my fingerprint.  On my home comuter (which is a secured/password protected network) it's a mater password. Roboform is synchronized whenever it's opened, which means any changes on one device are automatically updated to any other.

 

Roboform just introduced a new feature for my iphone and my husband's ipad:  it now integrates with any app that requires a password (that I have previously saved to Roboform).  It automatically pops up, you select the Roboform login, and it zips you through the process with no keystrokes.  You then proceed in an encrypted environment.

 

Roboform can generate passwords for you that are unbreakable.  I use my own, but if I have to create a new one, I use Roboform.  They are VERY long and complex, and stored safely in the app.

 

For two users it's $60 for two years.  I love this app.  I now can go anywhere and use any network.

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1 hour ago, FlyerTalker said:

Roboform won't protect you from hackers stealing from your wifi signal.

 

Period.

 

Use a VPN.

For those of us who are not technical experts, can you provide some guidance on setting up a VPN on an individual laptop or tablet?  TIA!

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1 hour ago, cruisin lady ca said:

For those of us who are not technical experts, can you provide some guidance on setting up a VPN on an individual laptop or tablet?  TIA!

No expert here, but if your device doesn't come with the VPN software, then you have to load it to your device.  Take a look at the free one in the comparison chart:

 

https://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2403388,00.asp

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Excellent roundup.  I personally use Private Internet Access, which is still pretty simple to set up and use.  Nord has strong positives - Tunnel Bear lets you get started for free.

 

You download the VPN app from whatever "store" you use and install.  Then you can set up your account following the instructions on the company's website.   Once established, just turn it on and log on through the VPN when using any kind of "public" service.

 

Note....some ISPs will not allow you to send mail when using a VPN - it's an anti-spam measure to try to thwart bulk spammers.  In those cases, you need to temporarily disconnect from your VPN to send your mail, then reconnect again.

Edited by FlyerTalker

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Speaking of VPNs, our internet went out for 10 days recently, and I used my iphone as a VPN.  Worked great to my relieved surprise.  I upgraded our data plan with our carrier, so it cost us about $1 a day.  Just turned on "Personal Hot Spot" in settings, found it as an available network on the list of wifi networks on my laptop, and logged in (the password is shown in the hot spot setting on my phone).  First time I've ever used it, and when I'm in an airport I'll use it from now on.

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