June was a very busy month! With COVID restrictions lifted, we can now travel to visit family and friends again and begin returning to life as we used to know it. But travel often means hotels with unsecured Wi-Fi and the temptation to just join that free Wi-Fi with the same password that everyone in the hotel is using. Please don’t do this!
The truth is hotel Wi-Fi has never been safe by any means, and all the sensitive information that you transmit while using it, (your credit card details, passwords for your financial institutions, etc.) can easily be tracked by the most novice of hackers. The same can happen to the history of your online browser searches because your hotel’s Wi-Fi admin can see your internet browsing history. So, what can you do to stay safe when traveling and using public and unsecured Wi-Fi?
Given the fact that hotels do not care about your personal security, it is in your interest to protect yourself from hackers and third-party monitoring.
Know the potential risks. Be advised that unprotected Wi-Fi hotspots may pose a great danger to you as a traveler. They are the best place for hackers to steal people’s data.
Avoid logging into highly vulnerable accounts. Avoid using online banking and other financial services on a hotel Wi-Fi connection. Do not log into accounts that could leak valuable data when hacked. If you must log onto these, your phone’s data service is much more secure than the hotel free Wi-Fi.
Make sure a Wi-Fi hotspot isn’t fake. Often, hackers set up fake Wi-Fi hotspots (also called evil twin networks) to trick their users into thinking they are legitimate. So, if your device detects two hotspots with similar names, do not connect to any of them and ask your hotel’s staff which Wi-Fi network is the real one.
Enable your firewall. Always keep your firewall enabled when traveling and using Wi-Fi networks other than your own. A good firewall creates a lot of obstacles on a path of a hacker trying to intrude into your system.
Encrypt your online data. A Virtual Private Networks (VPN) is a great security tool for you to encrypt your online data and stay safe on an unsecured guest Wi-Fi. A VPN hides your real IP address and ciphers all the data that you send and receive on the internet, keeping you under the radar of hackers and snoopers.
So, enjoy traveling again, but take these simple steps to keep digitally safe when using unsecured, free Wi-Fi.
Technology Access Program. Despite a slight decline in requests for systems, TAP continues to raise the bar in systems provided to local youths. For 2021 through the end of May – 318 systems provided. Since the TAP program inception through the end of May – 8,663 systems provided to 12,872 youths. Kudos to everyone directly involved with TAP.
Education Committee. The Education Committee, under the direction of Margie Krafft, has spent the last few months developing How-To articles that match topics requested by our members. In the following months, expect to see many more new articles, including a presentation on Password Managers.
Free Technology Support. Don’t forget about one of the most important benefits of being a TVCUC member – free device support for you and each member of your household is available from our First Level Support Team of technology experts.
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