A new article released by CNBC ranked the San Diego International Airport as the worst airport for cybersecurity and the number one airport in the country where travelers are most likely to be hacked.
The ranking, based on a report by the company, Coronet, is based on public WiFi networks at airports, which cybersecurity experts say can allow hackers to break into your phones and laptops and steal your information.
"In common with many other airports, San Diego offers free wireless for travelers,” said Stephen Cobb, senior security researcher with ESET North America in San Diego. “It’s very difficult to do that in a secure fashion.”
He said hackers at the San Diego Airport were tricking people with malicious WiFi networks.
"The report which drew attention to this problem located an ‘evil twin’ at the airport,” added Cobb. “Which is an attempt to trick people into logging onto fake airport WiFi.”
Cobb said once a hacker gets into your device, anything can be stolen.
"As people log into the WiFi at the airport to do some banking or shopping they are using their username and password," said Cobb. "Hackers can capture that to carry out attacks on those accounts."
The San Diego International Airport gave NBC 7 a statement Monday regarding the ranking:
While we don’t fully understand the methodology used to generate the report, the protection of sensitive information is always a priority for the airport. As a public wireless provider, we encourage users to follow basic safety measures to protect themselves while using any public wireless network. The airport employs tools to quickly identify, locate, and disable malicious rogue wireless access points. We’re ever vigilant in that regard and will continue to monitor and take the necessary measures to help protect users.
Cobb added no matter what airport you are in, it is important to protect yourself from hackers.
Cobb said try not to join public WiFi networks at airports or hotels. If you do want to use the internet, buy a WiFi device and use that network, or use a hotspot on your phone.
"It gives internet connectivity over cellular service, which is much more secure," Cobb explained.
The John Wayne Airport in Orange County was ranked as the number two worst airport for cybersecurity in the country, according to the article.