In a worrying yet unsurprising study, Czech security and anti-virus firm Avast set out to see who exactly who would be willing to sacrifice their security for free wifi. They set up a series of free wifi spots in Barcelona airport, attempting to see who would connect. Would you connect to an unsecured wifi network for no cost? The study showed that it was not just a few people, but in fact almost two-thirds of users connected to the wireless networks.
In just a few hours more than 2000 users connected to the unsecured networks set up by Avast in just a few hours. It was even possible to see what users were connecting to the internet for; over 61% used Google for searching information as well as checking their Gmail accounts, 52% of users had the Facebook app and 2.4% had Twitter. From this data collection it also revealed over 50% of all users had an Apple device and 43.4% used Android. But more importantly than these stats were that Avast were able to see the identity of the user and device in over two-thirds of everyone who connected.
The lesson here is that even if a free wireless network is being offered, not to always connect straight away without knowledge of what, or who, you are connecting to. Now, the real issue here is the way airports deal with wireless networks. If coffee shops, libraries, fast food restaurants and even phone booths can provide safe and secure wireless networks, why can airports get away with charging astronomical prices for internet? An airport is a place many are left waiting around for hours, or even need to connect to the internet for important reasons such as work or to make a travel change.
So the next time you are stranded at an airport, waiting for that flight home and you’re in need of using the internet, just be careful on what network you are connecting to. One way to protect yourself when using pubic wifi zones is to connect via a VPN. Le VPN can protect you on the go no matter what device you use and wherever you are in the world. By connecting through an encrypted connection, you will be masking your online presence with a barrier that prevents anyone from snooping on your activity.
Sign up to Le VPN today and stay protected even if you have to connect to an unsecured wireless network.