Five ways to protect your airline Wi-Fi use against hackers

airplane
Credit: Alex Grichenko

Want to keep yourself safe when flying against hackers and snooping when using a Wi-Fi connection in flight? I've got five tips to make sure you stay safe.

Verify your Wi-Fi connection

When you're on your airliner, make sure to get the exact name of the hotspot to which you're supposed to connect. Then only connect to that one. Be wary of hotspots with names like "Free WiFi." They're likely to be run by someone who wants you to connect so he can attack you.

Turn off Wi-Fi when you're not using it

It's this simple: If you don't have Wi-Fi turned on, you're protected. So turn it off when you're not actively using it.

Use a VPN

A VPN will protect your privacy when online, so use one when in-flight. There are plenty of free ones --- check out "5 free VPNS for PCs and Macs you need right now" for five of my favorites. Hotspot Shield VPN is a popular one. TunnelBear is a very good one if you use Chrome, because you can turn it on from right within the browser.

Forget the network when you log off

Whichever operating system you use, there's a feature that lets you forget the network after you've logged off. That means that you won't automatically connect to it the next time your computer see a network with that name. This is important, because someone could create a network impersonating the real one when you're not in-flight, and your computer will connect to it without your knowledge.

Turn off file-sharing

If you're enabled file-sharing on your computer, turn it off. Also, make sure you have a good firewall.

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