image-bell-boyDo you often travel for business and stay in hotels or motels? Or, maybe sometimes you travel for pleasure? You likely lock your hotel room door after you enter it. But if you are spending time in your room surfing the Internet using the free hotel Wi-Fi, you may have left that virtual door to the outside world wide open, leaving you and your data very vulnerable.   Unsecured wireless networks at resorts and hotels are one of the hackers’ favorite placed to commit their crimes–hacking into personal emails and information. Sometimes criminals on-site create their own free Wi-Fi network that unsuspecting visitors log on to without a qualm. The user then does his or her online shopping and more while the criminal swipes all the key personal information needed to do some free shopping of his own.

To avoid such risks, there are a few things you can do:

  • Confirm the name of the right Wi-Fi access points.   Ask the hotel staff for the correct free Wi-Fi network name. Maybe even ask two, to be doubly sure.
  • Try to use networks that use WPA (Wi-Fi protected access) which requires a password to get onto the network and always encrypts wireless transmissions.
  • Be smart, assume that there may be someone lurking in the ether trying to gain confidential information. Take steps like disabling file sharing, enabling your PC internal firewall and be sure to not send anything personal if using an unencrypted wireless connection or if you’re on an unsecured login page.

Safe travels!