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How safe is an airport’s Wi-Fi? Cybersecurity study ranks the nation’s best and worst

This Sept. 30, 2011, file photo shows a reflection of the Department of Homeland Security logo in the eyeglasses of a cybersecurity analyst. A new study by Tel Aviv-based cloud security company, Coronet, ranked airports across the United States to analyze their cybersecurity risk for travelers who use Wi-Fi and apps.
This Sept. 30, 2011, file photo shows a reflection of the Department of Homeland Security logo in the eyeglasses of a cybersecurity analyst. A new study by Tel Aviv-based cloud security company, Coronet, ranked airports across the United States to analyze their cybersecurity risk for travelers who use Wi-Fi and apps. AP

Some good news for patrons of Miami International Airport who use their smart phones and laptops to do business or pass time on social media while waiting on a flight.

According to a new survey by Coronet, a Tel Aviv-based cloud security company, Miami International is one of the 10 most secure airports in the country when it comes to cybersecurity.

MIA ranked No. 9, one position ahead of Tampa International Airport.

Coronet says the purpose of the report is to inform business travelers of how insecure airport Wi-Fi can inadvertently put the integrity and confidentiality of their essential cloud-based work apps — such as G-Suite, Dropbox, Office 365 — at risk. The goal, the company said, was “to educate fliers on the dangers of connecting to unencrypted, unsecured or improperly configured networks.”

A clip from a real-time map of cybersecurity threats targeting companies and institutions in the United States and abroad from Kaspersky Lab, a global cybersecurity company.

The most secure, or least vulnerable, airports were:

Chicago-Midway International Airport

Raleigh Durham International Airport

Nashville International Airport

Washington Dulles International Airport

San Antonio International Airport.

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

Kansas City International Airport.

Lambert St. Louis International Airport.

Miami International Airport

Tampa International Airport.

MIA CONCOURSE E a epf.JPG
Chuck McCown of Salt Lake City, Utah, gets some work done in the renovated wing of Concourse E at Miami International Airport while waiting for a flight on March 27, 2017. Patrick Farrell pfarrell@miamiherald.com

By comparison, according to the report, the nation’s most cyber insecure airports are:

San Diego International Airport

John Wayne Airport-Orange County Airport

William P. Houston Hobby Airport

Southwest Florida International Airport

Newark Liberty International Airport.

Dallas Love Field

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.

Boston Logan International Airport.

Coronet arrived at its Airport Threat Score rankings by collecting data from more than 250,000 consumer and corporate users who traveled through the nation’s 45 busiest airports over the course of five months. The data was analyzed to look at device vulnerabilities and Wi-Fi network risks, which was captured from the company’s threat protection applications.

“Far too many U.S. airports have sacrificed the security of their Wi-Fi networks for consumer convenience,” said Dror Liwer, Coronet’s founder, in a statement. “As a result, business travelers in particular put not just their devices, but their company’s entire digital infrastructure at risk every time they connect to Wi-Fi that is unencrypted, unsecured or improperly configured.

“Until such time when airports take responsibility and improve their cybersecurity posture, the accountability is on each individual flier to be aware of the risks and take the appropriate steps to minimize the danger.”

Our dependence on technology may be growing faster than our ability to provide security on the internet, says Joshua Corman, head of a cybersecurity initiative at the Atlantic Council, a Washington DC think tank.

Follow @HowardCohen on Twitter.
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