Try out the Travel Search widget → a one-stop-shop with real-time travel risk information.

August 7, 2023 / Riskline Informer

Travel Outlook: Free Wi-Fi at airports – risks and protection tips

August Travel Outlook free wifi at airports risks

By Lorena Peña

Travel intelligence can help you to anticipate and prevent a number of physical threats that can affect your business and leisure trips, but some risks come from cyberspace too. Digital security has become a vital issue for travellers, especially when at least half of the travelers connect to free Wi-Fi at airports. Protecting the critical information you handle on laptops and phones is crucial. In fact, most of these public networks available at airports can be less secure and could expose your data. Here’s how to avoid the risks that free Wi-fi at airports can cause. 

Why free Wi-Fi at airports can be risky for travellers? 

Wi-Fi is very convenient when spending a long time inside an airport or now that some airlines provide in-flight WIFI services, when it comes to public Wi-Fi networks or hotspots, verifying the safety of these is not always easy. However, if the free Wi-Fi doesn’t require an authentication like a password, it should be considered a red flag. According to a Forbes survey, out of the responders who had their information compromised while using public Wi-Fi, the highest percentage, 23%, reported it happened at an airport. 

Which type of risks are you facing if connecting to a vulnerable network?

You could be exposed to identity and bank information theft, unauthorized access to your email/credentials, or malware from infected downloads. Even more complex cyber threats, like man-in-the-middle attacks that allow hackers to eavesdrop on communications or sniffing attacks, that can extract unprotected data.

Given these possible risks, tourists and especially business travellers using free Wi-Fi should be aware of how to protect sensitive information.

Here are Riskline’s tips on how to protect your devices:

  • Use a VPN. Especially when traveling abroad, a VPN can secure all the sensitive data you send or receive over the Internet like banking transactions or flight itineraries and passport numbers.
  • Update your antivirus software before your travel. Check that your software has the latest updates and perform a security assessment of your device in advance. Verify prior the departure that your antivirus works in your country of destination. 
  • Turn off your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth search. It could automatically link to an insecure network without your knowledge. Or even to another electronic device through which hackers could access your information.
  • Double-check the official airport Wi-Fi network name. Hackers could create a false hotspot using the airport’s name by making slight orthographic changes, this method is called an “evil-twin attack”. To be sure, look for the official name at information points or ask an airport worker.
  • Using your cellphone data connection or an ESim Card. If you are in a domestic airport, it is advisable to use your data connection by transforming your cellphone into a hotspot. Activating the roaming or buying a regular sim card is also a good option. Check with your local telephone operator, look for alternative service providers such as HolaFly or Airalo, that offer eSim cards (Check the list of supported phones), or take a look at the eSIMS website, which is a comparator for prepaid eSIM plans and providers. 

Cyber-preparedness must be part of the routine when planning a trip. Especially as travellers are vulnerable to cyber risks when connecting to an insecure Wi-Fi network. However, following useful recommendations can prevent cyber threats from harming your travel experience.



Riskline Travel Search API
Vital information for trip booking with Travel Search API
Share This
Continue Reading

Travellers are safer when they stay informed

Riskline Alert Messaging operates all day, every day. Each alert contains essential intelligence, practical advice and precise geographic data about risks to traveller safety or impacts on travel plans. When we are able to get advanced warning, notices are also issued for events happening in the future.
Riskline Informer
Keep informed of key developments around the world.

Get prepared before you travel

Riskline Pre-Travel Advisories (PTAs) are exactly what a traveller needs to know about their destination before they leave home. Each report is a concise summary of the security and travel safety situation for any destination, and can be sent straight to travellers’ emails.

Let our experts show you how Riskline can keep you informed.

Everything your travellers need to know before they travel

Riskline’s TravelPrep provides important safety information directly to travellers, empowering them to travel safer and smarter.
Let our experts show you how Riskline can keep you informed.

Risk ratings you can build a travel policy around

Riskline has detailed assessments for more than 225 countries and territories around the world. Each report has an easy-to-understand Risk Level™ that can be integrated into travel policies and other business operations. Risk assessments include an overview of the security and travel safety situation in a country, and detailed analysis of the political, terrorism, conflict, unrest, crime, natural, health and local transport risks.
Let our experts show you how Riskline can keep you informed.

Know more about where you actually go

We assess the safety of more than 250 global cities, assigning each a clear Risk Level. In addition to city-specific threats and other local knowledge, every report has a map of important locations down to street level.
Use Cases
See how our City Safety Reports can help keep your travellers safe.

People make better decisions when they have the full picture

Advisories are detailed assessments of ongoing security situations and travel issues. We publish reports for high-risk geographic areas, political and security crises, persisting travel disruptions and major upcoming events, such as elections and international sporting competitions.
Let our experts show you how Riskline can keep you informed.

Covid-19 travel advice at your fingertips

Don’t let COVID-19 confusion get in the way of your customers’ decisions. Give them a tool at their fingertips that lets them see the implications of Covid on their travel plans and how best to prepare for their trip. TravelCheck displays up to date risk and infection scores, at-a-glance information on their destination and need-to-know information on departure, in-flight and arrival.

It’s easy to customise your widget with your own brand colour and poster image, to seamlessly integrate it into your website.

Our simple Javascript installation will get you up and running in no time. A few lines of code is all it takes to install the widget, with 2 display modes available – inline for embedding into a single page, or modal for a floating, site-wide travel assistant.

Interested in trying our TravelCheck widget? Get in touch.

Helping travellers manage Covid-19 disruptions

We have closely tracked developments associated with COVID-19 since late 2019, gathering detailed information on entry and exit requirements, You can get our real-time COVID-19 intelligence via alerts, API, microsite, and the TravelCheck widget.
Let our experts show you how Riskline can keep you informed.

The right guidance for specific needs

Not all travellers are the same. Riskline’s Specific Traveller Advice includes country-specific information tailored for LGBTQ+ travellers, female travellers and tech-dependent travellers.

Riskline Informer
Keep informed of key developments around the world.

Keep Informed

Get the latest Riskline Informer news delivered to your inbox.