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TTC Special: Using Wi-Fi on a flight brings risks

TTC Special:Using Wi-Fi on a flight brings risks

Today, Wi-Fi is everywhere, from cafes to bus stops, trains to airports. But the service hasn’t reached its fullest potential especially in commercial planes. Photo: Manuel Faba Ortega

By F. Martin

TTC Service.- The world’s airlines are installing Wi-Fi services in response to their passengers seeking entertainment in mid-flight.

Almost 25% of travelers say they not at all concerned about security when using WiFi in an airport or on a plane, according to a recent survey by The GO Group, LLC, an international ground transportation provider.

The survey also found however that 48% they were somewhat concerned. Only 19% of the 293 respondents were very concerned while nine percent said they never thought about their security while online at airports on planes.

Nevertheless experts in the matter have admitted that they should.

“Travelers need to be aware that it is not overly difficult for criminals to steal personal information when people use Wi-Fi networks in public spaces”, GO Group, LLC estimates.

“All thieves need is a battery powered hotspot”, it is the warning of those specialists.

Today, Wi-Fi is everywhere, from cafes to bus stops, trains to airports. But the service hasn’t reached its fullest potential especially in commercial planes.

An increasing amount of airlines like Finnair, Srilankan Airlines, Kuwait Airways, TAAG Angola Airlines, and WestJet have announced that they’ll soon be implementing Wi-Fi.

The truth is there’s still a long way to go when it comes to the quality of the service, as exorbitant pricing and slow speeds that would make even a snail yawn are deterring fliers from considering purchasing internet aboard.

At the moment only eight airlines offer free inflight Wi-Fi: Emirates, JetBlue, Norwegian, Turkish Airlines, Air China, Philippine Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines and Nok Air.

There are two ways for an internet signal to reach your device at 35,000 feet. The first is via ground-based mobile broadband towers, which send signals up to an aircraft’s antennas (usually on the base of the fuselage).

The second method uses satellite technology. Planes connect to satellites in geostationary orbit (35,786km above the planet), which send and receive signals to earth via receivers and transmitters. These are the same satellites that are used in television signals, weather forecasting, and covert military operations.

Three percent of survey participants said they have had personal information stolen while using Wi-Fi in an airport or on a plane. Twenty-eight percent said they did now know whether or not they have had information stolen.

The GO Group recommended to avoid these thefts that using common sense and taking active measures, such as verifying the full name of the Wi-Fi network, turning off file sharing, only using sites with HTTPS encryptions and not conducting online financial transactions can go a long way in protecting sensitive information.

The GO Group, LLC is offering shared rides, private vehicles, sedans, charters and tours, serving some 90 airports in North America, Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe and transporting more than 13 million passengers per year.

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