Q&A: Is it safe to connect to airplane Wi-Fi while traveling?

 June 11, 2021

Question: I’m throwing my laptop, tablet, and smartphone into my “personal item” and getting set for some summer travel. I’m ready to relax, but should I be concerned about connecting to airplane Wi-Fi when I fly?

Answer: Relaxation is a good idea, but don’t be too quick to relax about your Wi-Fi connection in flight. Inflight Wi-Fi is far from secure — and cybercriminals can target Wi-Fi networks used by travelers. In fact, they count on tourists getting into "vacation mode" and letting down their guard.

Why is unprotected in-flight Wi-Fi a bad idea? Here are two reasons.

One, hackers could access your connection while on public Wi-Fi and steal the private information you transmit, from bank account numbers to email messages and social media passwords. This might enable them to steal your money or take over your accounts.

Two, you could pick up a virus or malware that could infect your device and cause headaches for you long after you've landed.

It’s a good idea to avoid airplane internet if you can. It can be expensive, and the connection is often spotty at best. If you do connect, don't make any sensitive transactions, such as checking your bank balance or logging into your email.

If you can't live without Wi-Fi while you're in the air, consider getting a virtual private network. A VPN can make it safer to use inflight Wi-Fi, or any other public Wi-Fi connection, while you're traveling. And practicing Cyber Safety is the first step toward a truly relaxing trip.

The freedom to connect more securely to Wi-Fi anywhere

With Norton™ Secure VPN, check email, interact on social media and pay bills using public Wi-Fi without worrying about cybercriminals stealing your private information

Try Norton Secure VPN for peace of mind when you connect online

Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. NortonLifeLock offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about cyber safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses.

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