The next time you’re in an airport terminal with your wireless notebook on, there’s a good chance you’re exposing your or your company’s data to others. Even worse, the wireless network you’re connected to might be completely insecure — or even be running on the laptop of the guy sitting next to you.
Researchers from AirTight Networks visited 14 airports around the world and discovered that most business travelers aren’t taking the basic steps necessary to protect sensitive data. “We found that only three percent of all mobile users were using virtual private networks (VPNs), so most of their data was free and clear to anyone who could sniff the airwaves,” said Mike Baglietto, director of product marketing for AirTight Networks.
With little effort the researchers were able to see what Web surfers were looking at, and even capture their cookies. “There’s a huge data-leakage exposure,” Baglietto said. “We’re able to track people’s cookies in the air, and once you start getting a user’s cookies, you could impersonate that user” to steal their banking credentials, for example.