The Wi-Fi at this hotel is not secure. Find out why | To concentrate
Whether traveling for business or pleasure, hotels with free Wi-Fi are a relief. As soon as you reach the lobby or the comfort of your room, you can search for the best restaurant nearby or send the urgent report your boss has requested.
You may feel secure when accessing Wi-Fi since the hotel shares the login password with you when you check in, or you might not be able to log in until after you share your room number. However, security experts consider the hotel’s Wi-Fi to be unsafe and could ruin your trip. Let’s see why.
Why you shouldn’t use the hotel’s Wi-Fi
The feeling of security can be deceptive. Imagine checking into a fancy hotel hoping for the best possible service. And, in many ways, you will receive it. However, hotel Wi-Fi is a tricky one, with many networks lacking the most basic security mechanisms. For example, even the The FBI pointed out the potential dangers of hotel Wi-Fi.
For example, hackers could hide near luxury hotels in the hope of capturing data. Usually, the hotel’s Wi-Fi has a password. However, it is usually very simple, such as the name of the specific hotel or room. Thus, connecting to it and potentially intercepting the traffic of other connected users is relatively easy. Why? Because most free Wi-Fi networks allow data to travel unencrypted. Configuration faults can also have serious consequences. This could make it easier for hackers to try to steal user credentials.
The dangers of using free Wi-Fi
Here are two of the most common ways your hotel Wi-Fi or any other public Wi-Fi can compromise your personal information.
• Credit card details can be stolen. It is possible that a hacker will steal your credit card details when you connect to your hotel’s Wi-Fi by launching a man-in-the-middle attack. What is that? As your data travels from your device to the bank or store, it is intercepted by the hacker before it reaches the destination. The hacker just has to steal your credit card information by intercepting it as soon as you enter it before it reaches its destination.
• Another method adopted by hackers is the evil twin attack. This means that the hackers are creating their own Wi-Fi network, which looks a lot like the hotel’s. As soon as you connect to this network, the hacker starts monitoring all of your online activities, including any credit card information you enter.
• Usernames and passwords can be stolen. You take the serious risk of exposing your login details to cybercriminals when you enter them into sites over your hotel’s Wi-Fi. When you enter your username and password to log into your bank account, there is every possibility that a hacker will gain access, which may allow them to log into your bank account. You run the same risk if you access any of your accounts.
Is it possible to connect to Wi-Fi safely?
You should avoid accessing any of your financial or personal sites when using your hotel’s Wi-Fi or any other public Wi-Fi for that matter. The wisest thing to do is to avoid visiting a site that you need to connect to while using public Wi-Fi.
We have now made you aware of the risks associated with using your hotel’s Wi-Fi. Here are some common tips on how you should protect yourself.
• Check the settings. You would do well to make sure the device you are using is on proper settings that enhance its security. Make sure you have turned off the feature that automatically connects your device to the nearest available Wi-Fi network. You should also keep your Bluetooth turned off when you are not using it.
• Keep away from sensitive sites. Avoid signing in to sites that store your sensitive information, such as retail websites, websites of banks or any financial institution, social media profiles, healthcare provider sites, or your accounts messaging.
• Change your passwords. It’s a great idea to replace your passwords with more complex passwords for sites that need your sensitive information like your social media profiles, bank accounts, or email before you go. When you get home, change them again.
• Encrypt Internet traffic. A very effective strategy for keeping hackers at bay is to get a VPN. A virtual private network protects you by ensuring that all of your internet traffic is properly encrypted. So a VPN protects you after connecting to a free Wi-Fi hotspot.
We live in dangerous times when using any public Wi-Fi network, including your hotel’s, can cause you big problems. Using your hotel’s Wi-Fi puts you at risk of attacks from the middle man and evil twins. You risk having your credit card and login details stolen. Stay safe and follow our tips for a safe and secure online experience that also ensures your privacy.