Free Can Be Very Costly

You are at the gate, an hour before you flight. You zipped through security because you have Global entry; sailing through TSAPreCheck. You’re feeling good, you found a nice computer spot, you take out your iPad, computer, phone and connect to the free airport Wi-Fi and that’s where it all ends.

Working at airport.jpeg

In a recent study (January-May 2018), Coronet a cloud security company, ranked 45 of the busiest US airports and found San Diego to be the absolute worst for cyber threats. Free Wi-Fi at airports may seem like a public service, in reality, they serve hackers. “The main reason airports are problematic is because most people are taking convenience over security,” said Dror Liwer, chief security officer and co-founder of Coronet.

These networks are usually unencrypted, insecure or improperly configured according to the study. Its’ not just your own device that is at risk, but your company’s entire digital infrastructure that's at risk, every time you login to a Wi-Fi that is unencrypted, unsecured or improperly configured and send emails or share data with a co-worker.

“Hacking, which includes phishing, ransomware, malware and skimming, is the most common type of data breach and accounts for 60 percent of attacks, according to a 2017 study by the Identity Theft Resource Center. These attacks can lead to identity theft, which along with debt collection, imposter scams and other kinds of fraud, cost consumers $905 million in total losses in 2017, according to the Federal Trade Commission.” reports Carmen Reinicke of CNBC.

Here are the 3 major risks you take when you log onto public Wi-Fi

Your Device: When you click on "accept terms and conditions", you may unknowingly be installing malware on your device. The website looked legit, but it wasn’t.

Credentials: You can be a target for a Wi-Fi phishing scheme. The website looks just like the site you think is legit, just like your email sign in page. But it’s not and as you sign in, you are giving your login info to the hacker.

Data: Now you can infect your entire company. If data is sent to and from coworkers, through the hacker’s device, then they have all that info. You’ve handed it all over to them on a silver platter, so to speak.

Here’s the list of the 10 worst airports. Just because your airport is not on the list, it doesn’t mean it’s safe. It just means the hackers haven’t gotten to it yet.

These are the top 10 worst airports for cybersecurity. 10 being the absolute worst.

* Source: Coronet

1. San Diego International Airport 10

2. John Wayne Airport- Orange County Airport 8.7

3. Hobby Airport Houston TX 7.5

4. Southwest Florida International Airport Fort Myers 7.1

5. Newark Liberty International Airport 7.1

6. Dallas Love Field 6.8

7. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport 6.5

8. Charlotte Douglas International Airport 6.4

9. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport 6.4

10. Logan International Airport Boston 6.4

You are much safer signing into secured network. It may not be as convenient, but it sure will save you in the end. I use my T-Mobile Hot Spot when I’m traveling. I never sign into unsecured networks and neither should you.

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Just when you thought you had airport security down...

If you are out of the US and on your way home or if you are planning on leaving the country, be sure to allow extra time at the airport on your way back.


Remember the short-lived laptop ban? Well it’s replacement went into effect on October 26th. The trade off for allowing you to work or watch movies on your laptop, during your flight, is new security measures that could include, secondary screenings, interviews at boarding gates or check in areas. Those in turn could cause longer wait times and delays. Aside from having to get to the airport earlier, other services could be affected. Cathay Pacific, for example, said it would suspend its downtown check-in and self-bag drop services in Hong Kong. It’s estimated that the rules will impact 235,000 passengers on 2,000 flights daily to the U.S. on 180 airlines from 280 airports across 105 countries.

On domestic flights, standard TSA lines must now remove all electronics larger than phones and place them in isolated bins for x-ray machines.  All the more reason to get your Global Entry and go through the TSA PreCheck line.

So, if this isn’t enough good news, here is more from our friends in DC. 


As of January 22, 2018, Real ID takes effect. Almost half the states’ driver’s licenses will not be considered Real ID. If your state is not in compliance, you will need a passport to board a domestic flight.

California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Pennsylvania, Virginia and South Carolina have been granted an extension through October 18, 2018. New York, Michigan, Illinois and Louisiana, as well as Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, are “under review,” which means they’ve requested an extension, but one has not yet been granted. Poor Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. They’ve had it rough enough and now they won’t even be able to leave, if they don’t have passports.

In California you can apply for a Real ID starting January 2, 2018.  However, it’s a complicated process, you might just as well get a passport if you don’t already have one. Check your expiration dates now. If your passport is expiring in 6 months, renew it now. Don’t wait. There will be lots more people applying for passports and it could take a long time to get yours renewed.

For more information on Real ID and an interactive map of states that are compliant, Click here

And just in case, if it didn’t occur to you, starting January 22nd there will be more delays at security because of all the people who aren’t aware of the new regulations.  

Plan to be at the airport extra early for your flights.


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