Be careful with open WiFi and HotSpots when traveling

privacy onlineWhen we are out traveling and visiting major cities such as London, most of us bring portable devices alon on the trip such as mobile phones, tablets, iPads and laptops. The intention is to use hotspots and open WiFi networks around to connect these devices to the Internet, and thus you can connect to the rest of the world using the Internet.

It is very useful when you are out traveling to have such an opportunity. You can check your emails everywhere, upload some new pictures to your Facebook profile, and stay in touch in the world, even when you are just enjoying a coffee in a Starbucks somewhere. But, it is worth being careful when doing so. In most chances no harm is done, but for people with a piece of insight it is no problem stealing passwords and finding private information about you as you use open WiFi networks in your hotel, in cafes and restaurants around the world.

What is the main problem?

The main problem is that the data you send to and from your computer in an open network travels unencrypted. Anyone good at fishing can easily get hold of that information sent unencrypted, and thus confidential information that you send, will not be as confidential anymore, at least not if abused. Luckily few people abuse such information, but it is still worth watching out, to make sure that it does not happen to you. So, how can you take care of your privacy and private data when using open networks?

How to protect your privacy in open networks?

Let us say that you are living in a hotel in London where you are offered a free WiFi connection, and of course you are planing on using, after all that is why you brought your iPad to London in the first place. But, since you want to protect yourself, here are some steps worth following:

  1. Open Facebook, and make sure Secure Browsing is enabled (Account – Security – Secure Browsing). If this is turned on you will see the Facebook address changed from http://www.facebook.com/ to https://www.facebook..com/
  2. Gmail uses the https:// by default, so that should be good. If you did not know it, https is an abbreviation for “Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure.
  3. When typing in usernames and password online, make sure that the address of the site is https:// and not http://.
  4. These are small steps, but the very best solution if you want to surf the Internet safely and for sure protect your data, passwords, usernames and card numbers, a VPN connection is the best. This will encrypt all your data and make sure that no sniffers in a local network can find and get hold of your data. A VPN connection cost a very small amount of money, but it will protect your data and encrypt it, making it impossible to steal whatever content you send online. Want to know more? Read more about what a VPN really is and does.

Our favorite VPN service is HideMyAss, so if you are interested in using it, read the following review and go try it for yourself.

If you have further advices and thoughts on securing your Internet connection as you travel to London, drink coffee in Starbucks and enjoy a ride with the London Eye, write a comment and share whatever is on your heart.

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