I recently read a great article in Business Traveler that I recommend you read, too:
If you travel as much as I do, don’t be lazy and not use a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your WiFi sessions — whether it’s public or in the privacy of your hotel room.
According to the article, because WiFi is simply radio waves, hackers and identify thieves can easily listen in to anything you send and receive on unencrypted connections. And many public WiFi connections are not encrypted.
How many times have people been ripped off sitting in a Starbucks or public airport area, even in the airline club lounges, because they were too lazy to encrypt their sessions using a VPN? Here’s the high-level tips for safeguarding your data:
1. Keep a clean machine.
Make sure you have updated antivirus firewall protection and operating system patches.
2. Stop and think before you connect to public WiFi.
WiFi is available everywhere you go including airports, hotels, restaurants, parks, and museums. But these networks are completely open and insecure. Use common sense when you connect to public WiFi, and be cautious about the sites you visit and the information you send.
3. Paid WiFi doesn’t mean safe WiFi.
Just because you paid for WiFi access, it doesn’t mean it’s safe. There’s no encryption to stop anyone from eavesdropping on your communications. So make sure you protect yourself from hackers.
4. Beware of evil twins.
Hackers sometimes set up evil twins – WiFi networks that look real – near legitimate public networks. If you connect to them all of your information can be captured. It can be hard to tell the difference so confirm the name of the hotspot with the owner before you connect.
5. Use a VPN to encrypt information on all of your devices.
If you use public WiFi while you travel, the only way to guarantee your security is to use a VPN like PRIVATEWiFi to encrypt your personal data in wireless hotspots. Antivirus or firewall software won’t protect you – but a VPN encrypts all of your communications no matter where your travels take you.