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Five Other Things You Should Never Do on In-Flight WiFi

Five Other Things You Should Never Do on In-Flight WiFi
Jennifer Billock

We didn’t think it needed to be said, but United’s recent struggles with their passengers suggest that that’s just not the case for everyone. So, here goes: you should never, ever watch dirty movies on a plane. Ever. No exceptions.

And, while we’re on the topic, while free wi-fi on planes is always a perk, there are other things you shouldn’t do on in-flight–or airport, hotel, restaurant, coffee shop, or any other free–wi-fi. Not because those things are wildly inappropriate in a public setting but because they’re dangerous.

Why? Because hackers target free wi-fi. They can track what you’re doing and end up with your account numbers, login information, or any other personal data you’re using on the internet. Try to avoid these things when using public wi-fi to minimize the possibility of someone stealing your information.

Type Your Password In

When you’re on public wi-fi, cybercrooks can track your keystrokes. It doesn’t happen all the time, but victims of this kind of cyberattack will tell you that once is enough. If you’re already logged in, feel free to go ahead. But, if something asks you for your password–especially if its a password that you use in multiple places (because even cybercriminals know a lot of us do that).

Online Shopping

Try not to buy anything online when you’re on a public network. Anyone looking in and trying to take your information could obtain your login details and your credit card number as you type them out.

Checking Your Bank Account

Same goes for checking your bank account—and really, this should apply to any internet network that isn’t in your own home. Logging in to your accounts is like a field day for any hackers watching. They can potentially get your account and routing number, or credit card numbers. If you absolutely need to check your bank accounts, create a mobile hotspot with your phone and connect to that.

Logging onto Unsecured Websites

Unsecured websites are much easier to hack into. Luckily, this has a pretty easy trick to know if you should log onto the site or not. Look at the web address. If it only says “http://” then stay away. If it says “https://” then you should be fine to log on—assuming you’re using a suitably safe internet network.

Using Any Available Network

This has two parts to it. First, if there’s a secure network and an unsecure network available, always choose the secured network if you can. Hackers are less likely to set up shop on the network when they need to log in, create an account, ask for a password, agree to terms and conditions, or in some cases pay for access. Second, you’ll want to verify with the network owners that you’re signing on to the right one. Hackers can make fake networks with similar names, designed to steal your information.


View Comments (10)


  1. VegasGambler

    February 7, 2020 at 11:40 am

    This article was written by someone who does not understand cybersecurity.

    No, being on public wifi does not allow others to read your keystrokes. No internet connection (public or private) is ever assumed to be “secure”. The security comes from encrypting data end-to-end so it cannot be read by anything along the way.

    Airplane wifi is no less secure than your wifi at home.

  2. DCAFly

    February 7, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    6. watch porn

  3. strickerj

    February 7, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    Good thing the in-flight WiFi is too slow for you to do anything on it then. ;)

  4. Dr.Ells

    February 7, 2020 at 10:03 pm

    The “author” is clearly stupider than most of us. Shall we pray forbhus/her redrllrmption? Clearly; spell check wants that!

  5. mvoight

    February 8, 2020 at 12:02 am

    Newer airline WIFI is fast enough to do work. I consistently get over 15 Mb/sec on AA’s Viatstat equipped planes

  6. Superjeff

    February 9, 2020 at 7:26 am

    I, as somebody who was “hacked” at a major U.S. airport while waiting in the gate area, would also recommend a VPN as another level of security.

  7. crisdean

    February 9, 2020 at 11:39 am

    Also there’s a thing called VPN to protect yourself….those articles here are funny at times

  8. KRSW

    February 10, 2020 at 5:57 pm

    Considering the vast majority of websites today use SSL (encryption), there isn’t anywhere near as much harm using open WiFi as there once was.

  9. GlobalMatt

    February 11, 2020 at 9:39 am

    @DCAFly “beat” me to it

  10. Sydneyberlin

    February 12, 2020 at 4:14 pm

    What a useless and badly researched article. Just use a VPN, it’s really not that hard.

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