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Travelers wait in line at O’Hare International Airport on December 23, 2016.
There’s a bigger danger lurking in U.S. airports than mediocre meals: public Wi-Fi networks.
The convenience of these easy ways to connect online is often masked by the fact that many are unencrypted, insecure or improperly configured, according to a recent study by Coronet, a cybersecurity company. If that’s the case, it is much easier for hackers to access your device and install malicious software, steal your passwords or login information and download other data such as emails.
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.
To rank airports by their threat level, Coronet looked at data from the 45 busiest American airports over five months at the beginning of the year. Then, it assigned each airport a threat index score based on the vulnerability of devices and risk of networks used.
“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.