Using secure passenger WiFi on a bus

Secure Passenger WiFi: A guide to staying safe on public networks

By | Cyber Security, Passenger Wifi, Safety, Secure passenger WiFi | No Comments

It seems like every day there’s another story about the dangers of connecting to public WiFi networks. From hotel hackers to shopping centre snoopers, users of public WiFi face many potential risks. Of course, these stories serve a real purpose. If the public’s private details are at risk, they have a right to know. Simultaneously, public information campaigns about staying safe online are so common, it can be easy for people to overlook them.

Although Sygnal comes with a number of robust cyber-security measures, there’s no such thing as a completely secure network. In open-network WiFi, there is always a risk of being targeted. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to staying safe when browsing a public connection.

Personalisation as an essential travel trend of 2019

Avoid inputting personal details

Limiting your sensitive activity when on a public WiFi network is just common sense. It should go without saying; never enter passwords or financial details on public WiFi. Still, you’d be surprised how many people fall prey to hackers after entering their card details while on a public network. From online banking to shopping sites, any online action that entails entering financial details should be avoided at all costs.

The same goes for submitting Personally Identifiable Information (PII). That means you should probably wait until you’re on a secure personal connection before you start filling out application forms. Of course, every Sygnal WiFi network is also structured to be completely GDPR compliant, ensuring no PII is retained.

Verify you’re connecting to the real network

As public WiFi becomes more commonplace, so hackers have evolved to introduce new methods of capturing valuable, personal information. One of the most popular is to set-up bogus wireless connections in the hope unsuspecting users will connect. Once a user has connected to one a ‘bogus hotspot’, hackers can view the activity and even trawl the device for private information. Avoiding these spoof hotspots, however, shouldn’t require a degree in cyber-security. All it takes is a bit of diligence and common sense. 

Every bus connected by a Sygnal Server, for instance, will include the official server name, usually displayed inside the bus. If you can’t see the server name, ask the driver, and verify how it’s spelt (including capital letters).

Women using secure public WiFi on a bus

Stay secure everywhere

Of course, you could say this rule applies to any online activity. The first line of defence of your personal details; creating strong, unique passwords and changing them regularly should be common practice for everyone online. However, these safeguards become even more important when browsing a public connection.

The reality is, hacking users through guessing their passwords is relatively rare these days, but that’s no reason to get careless. Staying safe online is about limiting all possible risks; vigilance and an abundance of caution can go a long way.

Stick to secure sites (HTTPS)

Another seemingly obvious precaution, this one becomes doubly important when browsing on public WiFi. In HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS), the communication protocol is encrypted using Transport Layer Security. In standard HTTP websites, data is sent over the connection in cleartext. This means any eavesdropper to the network can see the web pages you’re visiting and the data you’re transferring back and forth.

When you connect to an HTTPS-secured server, however, your browser checks the website’s security certificate and verifies it was issued by a legitimate certificate authority. This helps you ensure you’re actually connected to the real website. While this still doesn’t guarantee total privacy, it significantly decreases the risk of browsing online.

Using secure passenger WiFi on a bus through smartphone

Secure Passenger WiFi-security

We recognise that a single line of defence is not enough to perturb hackers. That’s why Sygnal comes with a custom firewall and several in-built security features*. Simultaneously, the encrypted network settings are designed to present hackers with as many obstacles as possible. While that doesn’t guarantee a hacker will never gain access, it does make it significantly more difficult. As a dynamic 4G WiFi connection, the only way a hacker can access the network is by being on the bus.

Sygnal limits certain features through the WiFi. Passengers are reminded on first connection to avoid unsecured sites and to be careful about the type of communications they send over the connection.

Of course, public WiFi can pose risks, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid it. Sygnal WiFi enables you to browse your socials, catch up on work and keep in touch with loved ones. By taking the right precautions, you can enjoy rapid, robust WiFi on the go!

Using onboard WiFi to improve accessibility on transport

Finally, read the terms and conditions before connecting to any WiFi network; yes, we know they’re boring, but they’re there for a reason.

If you want to learn more about Sygnal and trying Secure Passenger WiFi on your vehicles, get in touch with us today.

*The exact spec of which we won’t detail here, for obvious reasons.

Low angle shot down bus aisle featuring smart technology

5 ways coach companies can increase fleet security

By | Road, Safety, Sygnal Bites, Technology | No Comments

Running your own commercial transport fleet can be a stressful experience. Whether it’s a local bus service or an international airline, some features of travel are essential to ensure happy passengers: comfort, accessibility, punctuality and, of course, safety.

With new technologies comes the opportunity to build on these key requirements and improve the travel experience for everyone. Here are just five technologies that can help increase security on your coaches – making for a safer and more secure journey for all.

CCTV to monitor passengers

While a fairly regular feature on most trains, CCTV is still fairly scarce on local bus services. But CCTV technology is becoming cheaper every day, while the advantages to using it are substantial. For one, CCTV allows you to track who boards the vehicle. Not only does this record everything that happens in the event of an incident, it also acts as a deterrent to anyone on board considering anything dangerous or illegal.

With a data connection, captured footage can be stored on an internal server, or sent directly to an external source. CCTV provides added security to those outside of the bus too, as any passenger that goes on to commit a crime later that day can be identified from the CCTV footage.

CCTV for security on buses and coaches

Vehicle tracking with GPS

For companies with a large fleet, keeping track of where each coach is at any given time can be a logistical nightmare. But GPS enables companies to know the location of every vehicle in an instant, centralising the information and saving valuable time in the process.

With GPS, discrepancies in the route are identified immediately. Companies can contact the driver to ensure there are no problems and resolve any potential safety/security issues as and when they arise. This isn’t just useful for working hours. If a coach goes missing outside of service hours, the GPS can guide police to its location while relaying valuable information about the driving behaviour of whoever is behind the wheel.

Bus travelling past bus stop with GPS for coach security

Dashcams for exterior visibility

Dashcams are becoming increasingly popular in commercial transport, but are still absent from many of the smaller fleets. Despite the industry’s reticence, dash cams are a great additional security feature. Not only do they provide an additional level of visibility, dash cams can be used to report dangerous drivers on the road.

If the worst should happen and a coach is involved in an accident, dash cams present clear, incontestable evidence as to what happened. With a Sygnal unit installed on a coach, the crash footage is saved and protected even if the cameras are damaged, much like a black box on an aeroplane. They can also double as external security cameras when the coach is stationary providing the operator leaves them on. Additionally, dash cams enable operators to review footage and optimise journeys based on variables such as traffic flow, road works and pick-up points.

Looking down interior of long-distance coach

Mobile ticketing

More of a fail-safe solution than a security feature, mobile ticketing nevertheless makes the entire transport system easier and more secure. This method also makes for a more reliable tracking and measurement system, digitally recording every passenger and sending the information directly to a fixed server elsewhere.

Mobile ticketing enables operators to track everyone who boarded the vehicle through their unique ticket code. After all, a personal mobile is infinitely easier to track than a generic paper ticket. Not only does this allow companies to build up a more accurate depiction of their passengers, it also removes any element of human error through a secure operating system with digital authentication. To ensure everyone can board, most digital ticketing systems use a QR code system to allow passengers that don’t want to use their smartphone to use a printed ticket.

Passenger using mobile smartphone device for onboard safety

Constant network connection

These days, passengers expect an omnipresent internet connection – either through their own mobile network data or, better yet, free WiFi courtesy of the coach company. We’re now at a point where an internet connection is second only to breathable air and a seat in terms of expected amenities on a long journey. But adding an onboard network also provides coaches with an extra level of safety and security.

Coaches with in-journey WiFi can communicate quickly and efficiently with a network operation centre (NOC). Not only that; as long as the coach has monitoring software installed, the NOC can monitor the coach’s performance. This means any problems experienced by the coach can be resolved promptly and effectively. Serious issues that could pose a risk to the passengers and driver can be identified quickly, adding a further safeguard against potential injury.

Bus turning with onboard coach security features

So there you have it; just a few modern technologies to modernise your fleet and ensure a safer journey. If you’re interested in making your coaches more secure, get in touch with Sygnal and we’ll find the best options for your specific requirements. Remember, it’s not just passengers that benefit from added fleet security features; your staff will feel more secure and your vehicles less at risk. In these times of rapidly changing fortunes, anything that limits risk and increases comfort must be a good thing.

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