However, the fact is that wifi in airplanes is just as insecure as free wifi offered in your corner coffee shop.
Ben Miller is a consultant who helps hotels and other businesses with their wifi installations.
Ben points out the following security problems with Gogo:
- No encryption is used for Gogo’s wifi. This means that applications like Firesheep allow hackers to steal login information for Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and most email systems.
- The authentication system used to charge passengers for Internet access is not fully secure. This means that anyone who knows how to spoof a MAC address (YouTube videos show you how to do it) can use the purchaser’s MAC address to piggyback on the service for free.
- In some circumstances, your device will continue searching for “gogoinflight” networks even after you leave the plane. This means that a you could inadvertently connect to an “Evil Twin” using that name, perhaps belonging to a hacker in the airport lounge. Think of free public wifi as “bait” by an Evil Twin thief.
Of course, Ben recommends a personal VPN as a way to protect private communications over wifi networks. What bad security habit will you fix before your next flight?