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Is the Wi-Fi Available on Airplanes Safe to Use?

There are always risks when using public Wi-Fi. Learn more about how safe the Wi-Fi on your flight might be, and precautions you can take.

Unfortunately, public Wi-Fi on airplanes can be worse to use than the public Wi-Fi in a coffee shop or train station. Be especially cautious of Wi-Fi networks on airplanes that aren’t password protected. There’s the possibility that the unprotected Wi-Fi network is a scam network, set up to mimic the flight’s network. Do not connect your phone to an unprotected network; doing so dramatically increases your device’s hacking risk. You may want to plan ahead so that you don’t need Wi-Fi access on your flight.

Although a password protected Wi-Fi network on an airplane is much safer to use, it still doesn’t protect your device against hacking opportunities. Even though the websites you visit might be encrypted, that doesn’t mean that your data is safe against hacking on public Wi-Fi. A hacker on your flight could still spy on your activities and access your personal information.

Read More: How to Encrypt the Data on Your Android Phone

Keep in mind that it’s never a good idea to access your online banking app or use your credit card to purchase items on public Wi-Fi. It’s even more risky to access your email, since your email is home to a lot of sensitive and personal information. After all, you pay a lot of money for limited Wi-Fi access on airplanes, so you want your data to be safe, right? While the safest option of all is to avoid using public Wi-Fi, sometimes it’s unavoidable. So, how can you protect your device from hacking threats?

How to Protect Your Device with a VPN
One way to protect your device is through a Virtual Private Network, or a VPN. A VPN offers a way to encrypt your device while accessing the public network. It prevents hackers from being able to read or access your data. A VPN is especially important to use if you want to do any business-related work on public Wi-Fi, such as sending e-mails or accessing work-related programs. Some safe, popular options include TunnelBear and ExpressVPN. A VPN generally costs anywhere from a few dollars per month to $10 per month. All you need to do is select the service plan that you want and download the software from their website.

If for some reason you want to use public Wi-Fi without a VPN, don’t access any of your accounts or type in any passwords. Act as if someone else can see your every move, and keep your web browsing to a minimum. Choose safe activities such as reading articles or checking out new content on your favorite food blog. Finally, make sure that you download PSafe Total and PSafe Total Windows before your flight. The apps will immediately detect any malware or security breaches on your devices.