Pack a light carry-on, pop in some gum, and fully charge your phone – we’re about to board. Hold the phone! What risks are posed in this situation? It’s not swallowing your gum or having space to pack away that carry-on… no, it’s much worse.

There are tips and tricks for surviving any flight. But somewhere along the way, maybe around 20,000 feet, it hits you. Pure boredom. You packed a book in the event this would happen, but it’s not keeping your interest. And don’t get me started on thumbing through the in-flight magazine – that would be worse.

Ah-ha!

Now that you’re in the air, you’ve been informed that you can resume normal activity on tech devices. Time to do a little work (and, let’s be honest, maybe visit Twitter). After all, one of the reasons you chose this airline was because it included free Wi-Fi. Rifling through your carry-on, pushing aside your book, Sudoku, and hand sanitizer, it’s there – your laptop. It quickly fires up, you type in your passcode and… freedom at last! True, it is work, but, you won’t be bored and you’ll get a head start on this week’s to-do list. Just need to connect to the Wi-Fi and you’re in.

Don’t be fooled

Are in-flight Wi-Fi networks secure? Sure – as secure as any other coffee shop or department store Wi-Fi. You use them from time to time when you’re out with friends and want to post a picture to Instagram or check in on Facebook, but would you send sensitive work emails using those Wi-Fi connections? Odds are, you wouldn’t. The same rule should be applied in-flight.

Compromised devices

Here’s just a sampling of the kinds of information someone can obtain from you when connected to a public Wi-Fi:

  • Credit card information
  • Banking information
  • Sensitive work emails
  • Personal passcodes
  • Your location (for example: checking in on Facebook and telling everyone you aren’t home)
  • Personal details about your family/where you live

Don’t give the “snakes” on your plane something to tap into. I get it – you want to make this flight worth your while, and chipping away at some work will keep you busy. “There’s got to be another way!” I hear you… and there is.

The solution

Most work environments have a virtual private network (VPN) that employees can sign into from anywhere and keep their work information secluded from outside hackers. Did I just hear you breathe a sigh of relief? Can’t say I blame you! Log on to your VPN and start working – your data is safe now! Happy traveling.

Stay Vigilant!

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