Pando

Not content with screwing its customers with over-priced Internet access, Gogo is now compromising secure websites

By Nathaniel Mott , written on January 5, 2015

From The News Desk

Gogo is issuing fake SSL certificates to people who access ostensibly secure websites via its in-flight Internet service, according to Neowin, which has advised readers to change their passwords for websites visited during a flight on one of Gogo's airline customers.

Spoofing certificates could trick consumers into thinking their connection to a website like Google is secure even though it really isn't. The practice might also allow attackers to inject malware into consumers' Web browsers via previously secure site connections.

Gogo's decision to fake the certificates is also worrisome because the company has admittedly exceeded its required cooperation with law enforcement by adding features "that would serve public safety and national security interests" to its in-flight networks.

It seems that Gogo is intentionally weakening connections made through its networks. Whether that's because it wants to share more information with law enforcement or simply because it wishes to market its service to travelers is, unfortunately, unclear.

And it's not the only company making its customers insecure. Comcast has started to inject advertisements into websites accessed via its public WiFi hotspots, according to Ars Technica, which first reported on the practice in September. As I wrote at the time:

Consumers are once again presented with two options: maintain a modicum of security by staying off public networks, especially Comcast’s, or expose themselves in exchange for a few minutes of connectivity. The only problem is that many people don’t know about the risks, which means that they’re unwittingly compromising their security for convenience’s sake.

Unintended security vulnerabilities are an inconvenient truth in the Internet age. But here, Comcast has knowingly compromised someone’s security just to put its personal stamp on a public WiFi network. That’s not just annoying; it’s unacceptable.

Now those same consumers are being presented with a similar choice: either maintain their digital security by avoiding Gogo's in-flight WiFi or compromise their safety to get access to a slow, over-priced Internet connection as they fly through the skies. It seems like a no-brainer, but for people who have to work during flights, it's a tough decision.