This blog post was updated on September 27, 2019.
We’re always seeing at least one of our social media friends posting their best photos while away at a cool destination. We’ve all been there, and odds are Wi-Fi is probably used to post on social media. But, what most travelers don’t know are the risks of using Wi-Fi in a new place. Whether you’re using a laptop, cell phone, tablet, or any other smart device there are some security risks to be aware of. Typically, a Wi-Fi network given by a hotel, resort, or airline is safe to use, if you’re using the correct one. What do we mean by this? Read on to learn about how to keep your devices from getting hacked before you hop on your cheap international flights to begin your vacation!
Confirm the Wi-Fi Network Name
Lounging poolside with a drink in hand snapping the perfect insta-worthy photo is what lots of vacationers do best. But, to post on social media or use the Web, you’re going to need some sort of wireless connection. If you’re headed to another country, you’ll probably be banking on Wi-Fi access. But, before you connect to any strong network, there are a few things to stay aware of.
At your hotel, resort, or even your aircraft you’ll be probably be given a Wi-Fi network name for you to use. If there are similar SSID’s (service set identifier/network names) this should raise a red flag. Usually, for a specific place such as a hotel, there is only one network to use. Why should you care to know this? Well, what most are unaware of is that hackers can easily copy the network name of a specific place such as Hotel Pool and create their own similar public network like Hotel Pool Bar that anyone in range of the hacker can connect to.
Prevent your device from being hacked
The dangerous factor to unintentionally using a malicious Wi-Fi network is that once connected, a hacker can access anything on your device from your apps to bank accounts and will be able to watch anything you’re doing on your device. To prevent this from happening check and alter your device settings to enable “Ask to Join Networks’ as seen on the iPhone and any other Wi-Fi settings. If your device is set to automatically connect to any network, you have a high chance of connecting to an unsafe network. Make sure your Bluetooth is turned off when you are not using it, this way no one can intercept your device. Also, update all your apps and software (if recommended). Most of the time updates are suggested because developers fixed a bug or security issue on an app or software to stop any viruses or hackers. Changing your passwords on important sign-ins like your email and banking apps are important. Make them more complex with symbols and capitalized letters, this will also make it more difficult to be hacked.
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Be sure your connection is safe to use
If you’re already connected to a Wi-Fi network, yet you’re unsure if it’s safe to continue to use, there are a few tricks that’ll help. First, try to reconnect with an incorrect password, if that works then you’re probably using an unsecured malicious network. Your best bet is to use anti-virus software to protect you from any potential online threats. Lastly, if you’re using the internet to make a purchase, look at the browser bar URL. The beginning of the URL should always have HTTPS, the letter S confirms that the site is secure. Following these safety precautions will decrease your chances of getting hacked!
You may also like: Hooked to Your Phone? Here’s How to Avoid Screen Addiction When Traveling
Or… maximize your getaway with these alternatives
Who needs Wi-Fi on vacation anyways? Put your hacking worries behind you and shut off your devices until your cheap international flights return home! BUT, if you can’t beat the addiction of staying connected, upgrade your cellular plan to international. It’ll cost you and the service will be slower, especially if you’re using data for a long period of time scrolling through social media but you will be digitally secure.
Have any other digital safety tips you’d like to share? Tell us in the comments below!