In your slog through airport security, TSA will vigorously pat you down and rifle through your luggage, and then, once you reach the salvation of your boarding gate, your mobile device will be hacked. Having your data stolen isn't inevitable, but according to a new study conducted by Cybersecurity firm Coronet, hacking is a big problem at airports.
Coronet ranked airports on the vulnerability of their wireless networks, finding that many of the nation's busiest are unencrypted, and therefore easier for hackers to infiltrate. The commercial aviation world isn't exactly at the forefront of technology, so while a network might theoretically spread throughout a whopping airport facility, they're often porous and poorly maintained.
To map out their study, Coronet examined data entry points at 45 of the country's busiest airports over a five-month period, and gave each network a threat index score. The findings weren't comforting, especially for residents of San Diego, as the city's airport has the most vulnerable airport Wi-Fi infrastructure in the United States. According to the study, victims fall prey to phishing scams and the installation of malware on their devices, which can occur when hackers build false pages that require login information.
The rest of the list includes airports that feed many of the country's biggest cities.
10. General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport (Boston)
9. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
8. Charlotte Douglas International Airport
7. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
6. Dallas Love Field International Airpot
5. Newark Liberty International Airport
4. Southwest Florida International Airport (Fort Myers)
3. William P Hobby Airport (Houston)
2. John Wayne Airport-Orange County Airport
1. San Diego International Airport
Airports are problematic because travelers are more inclined to browse through Instagram than read books, or in other words: everyone wants to use the Wi-Fi. “The main reason airports are problematic is because most people are taking convenience over security,” Dror Liwer, chief security officer and co-founder of Coronet said of the study.
That being said, an unlimited data plan might be the best route if you can shoulder the extra expense.