Tips to remain safe when using public WiFi networks

About this guest author: Kerry Blake is a MS Office expert and freelance writer. “As I was working as an IT lecturer I like to write articles that can help the IT crowd.”

While on vacation, many of us like bringing our smartphones, tablets or laptops with us to stay in touch with

loved ones. An Internet connection enables us to share pics, movies, and ideas easily with friends and family. But while it’s true that technology makes our holidays more enjoyable, a recent survey conducted by F-Secure reveals there are several aspects we need to take into account while traveling.public wifi safety tips prevent hacking safeguard vacation data personal private privacy

photo credit:

güneş in wonderland via photopin cc

The easiest way to access the Internet while traveling is through WiFi hotspots in restaurants, cafes or airports, but 52% of survey respondents say they are concerned about their security when using public WiFi networks. And they have all the reasons to be, since a stranger can easily snoop on your activity if you’re unprotected. This means you should have more than a firewall at hand, you need something to actually encrypt your data while you’re traveling. It’s recommended to access only SSL-encrypted websites when dealing with sensitive information, and if unavailable, always use a VPN to protect you.

The same principle also applies to public computers in hotels or Internet cafes. Experts recommend to use them only for common tasks such as reading news or browsing events because spyware (e.g. malware, keyloggers, etc) can be easily installed on these devices.

If you use public networks to communicate with loved ones, then you should create a separate email account to use only when you’re on vacation. Thus, if the account is hacked, hackers will not have access to important data and you don’t risk losing your private information.

Other recommendations for using public WiFi networks:

Do not leave the device to automatically connect to public WiFi networks. Hackers can easily gain control of your device this way.

Clear the recorded public WiFi networks when you return home.

Avoid remaining logged on applications that you do not use while traveling. They consume resources and you increase the risk of someone spotting your private activity.

Check if the network available in the hotel really belongs to the unit and is not a possible fraud attempt. There are many private Wi-Fi networks which are set publicly just so that certain people can steal others’ personal data.

Use a different password for each of your accounts. Make sure that your passwords are not easy to guess.

Disable the option to share your documents on the laptop and activate the firewall so that it will block incoming connections (e.g. people trying to access the laptop).

Use a Virtual Private Network – (VPN) whenever possible. They provide the strongest security degree and maintain your anonymity even on the most dangerous networks. Moreover, you can easily appear like you’re browsing from another country by using a UK VPN for example.

Use a router with a prepaid SIM card to create yourself a private WiFi network. This method is slightly more complicated – some extra technical know-how will help you.

Use secure sites (https) whenever you can. They grant a much stronger encryption.

As a general rule, consider that all activities done in a public WiFi network are regarded as public, as anyone can have access to them. Always protect yourself via appropriate means to avoid losing data and money.

For another tech travel tip, check out 15 Battery Saving Tips While On Vacation on

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