Many airports worldwide tend to offer Free Internet as part of their services. It helps improve the quality of life for the billions of airline passengers that pass through their gates. With most passengers today owning smart devices, you can be sure it’s a service much appreciated.
Yet public WiFi is notoriously unsafe, so why do many people believe that the free Internet at airports is any better? Even the US National Security Agency cautioned government workers against using public WiFi.
What is the Airport’s Free Internet?
Most airports want to offer passengers value-added services. The airports lease a massive data line to provide them with Free Internet. Airline passengers access this free Internet via linked WiFi terminals covering the entire grounds.
Passengers merely have to connect their devices to the WiFi channel provided by the airport. From there, it’s a free game (primarily) as to what you can do online. While the airport Free internet is generally slow, it is normally sufficient for basic web browsing and light digital activity.
The Danger of Free Internet
There are many dangers associated with Free Internet. Since anyone can access it, many devices are often simultaneously connected. Security is often laxer since these WiFi channels are often separate from core airport IT systems.
As an example of the vulnerability level, an Israeli researcher managed to hack over 3,500 WiFi networks in a single city. All it cost him was some equipment worth around $50.
Is How Dangerous is the Free Internet at an Airport?
Airports around the world accommodate a massive volume of passengers. For example, JFK Airport in New York, for example, saw an annual passenger volume of over 30 million each year before the pandemic hit.
And that’s just one of over 13,000 airports in the United States alone. In all, the world was looking at global passenger traffic of over 4.7 trillion annually.
There are three major factors contributing to the danger of Free Internet:
- Cybercriminals today have shown no qualm about targeting individual consumers over higher-value business entities
- Massive airline passenger volume is too lucrative for cybercriminals to ignore
- More public WiFi vulnerabilities are being discovered
You should always use Free Internet cautiously at the airport or other public locations. While you can’t always avoid it, preventive measures are essential. These include robust Internet Security Applications, Virtual Private Network (VPN) services, and secure Password Managers.