Why Hotel WiFi is So Dangerous
Using hotel WiFi can be very risky and even dangerous unless you take some steps to be safe.
Many of us can’t stand to be “disconnected” from the Internet – whether it’s our business email or social media – for minutes, let alone hours or days.
So, it’s no surprise that a recent survey by Research+Data Insights found that 7 out of 10 travelers consider a hotel’s WiFi more important than its location.
But is hotel WiFi safe?
To put it bluntly: No, not at all. And that goes for almost any public WiFi connection, whether it’s at a coffee shop or an airport.
The Dangers of Hotel WiFi
While most hotels do provide WiFi, they have little incentive to keep these connections safe. At best, their networks will require login details that you’re assigned when you check in – or at least a password. But some hotels don’t even do that.
If you’re using public WiFi at a hotel or anywhere else, you’re vulnerable in multiple ways:
- Your data, like online banking details or email passwords, can be intercepted
- Your computer can be infected with malware, trojans, or other viruses
- Your Internet activity can be viewed by third-parties or even your hotel
You could have your privacy invaded, accounts hacked, and even your identity stolen. The sophisticated hacking group DarkHotel has been making a business of this for years, targeting high-profile business people and even political figures. But the scary part is, it doesn’t require l33t skillz to hack an unsecured wireless network.
How to Secure Yourself on Hotel WiFi
Of course, most people already know the dangers of hotel WiFi. A Xirrus survey found that 91% of WiFi users know public WiFi isn’t secure – but 89% still use it.
So, if you insist on using public WiFi, here are some ways to protect yourself:
- Know the risks and vulnerabilities
- Don’t access work or banking accounts
- Don’t join random or unknown networks
- Turn on your firewall
And most importantly…
Use a VPN to Stay Safe on Hotel WiFi
The most effective – and in fact, one of the easiest – ways to stay safe while using public WiFi is with a VPN, or virtual private network.
In short, a VPN creates a sort of tunnel between your device and the VPN’s server. Your data is encrypted as it travels along this tunnel, making it much harder to read, intercept, or infiltrate. It basically acts as a middleman between you and the Internet, protecting your data and privacy in the process.
VPNs also have some other handy uses for travelers:
- Access blocked websites, whether they’re blocked by the country or the WiFi provider
- Access geo-restricted content, like Netflix for your home country
- Bypass Internet caps and restrictions
- Download torrents, watch online erotica and stream content without it being linked back to you
That’s on top of the data encryption, malware protection, and enhanced privacy. While we think all Internet users should use a VPN, it’s an absolute necessity if you travel or otherwise use public WiFi frequently.
Here are our top recommended VPNs for protecting yourself from the dangers of hotel WiFi. The good news is, all three are affordable, easy-to-use and come with full money-back guarantees. 🙂
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