Air travel has been a relatively phone-free zone for many years – until recently. Today many airlines are offering in-flight Wi-Fi during US and international flights, allowing people to catch up on emails, surf the internet, use social networks and much more.
Of course, as with general Wi-Fi, the security implications of using such networks need to be considered.
Kurt Baumgartner, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab has made the following comments about this important subject:
A variety of possible security challenges present themselves with Wi-Fi itself. There are many current attack techniques for Wi-Fi access points and in turn all of the devices connecting to them, so simply connecting to Wi-Fi in the air can expose your communications to badly motivated passengers that are situated close to you. And knowing that not all of these devices can be immediately upgraded by the airlines as inevitable vulnerabilities are discovered, there may be extended periods of time with vulnerable software and devices maintained on planes. It’s not always easy for airlines to quickly upgrade software and hardware as needed on planes in between flights.
And just as with the USB jacks on some airlines, some of these networks may not be designed with proper separation of resources, enabling disruptions for the entertainment systems, in what the attendants are communicating, or more.