A free WiFi connection is considered a luxury when traveling abroad and not wanting to subscribe to international roaming and mobile data. Yes, without WiFi, you might feel detached and unattended. But are you sure the wireless hotspot in your hotel room is safe and reliable?
By using unsecured WiFi, there’s a chance that you might end up exposing your bank accounts or your identity being stolen by a cyber-identity thief.
A few years back, you would only need to keep your wallet protected from thieves and secure your password while going out. Or additionally, people had to ensure they did not lose their credit cards. Yes, that all is still essential.
But traveling today also requires protecting yourself when using public WiFi. That pretty much justifies why people keep asking, ‘Is hotel WiFi safe?’
It indeed is a legitimate query to make. This article will explain why hotel WiFi is unsafe to use and how to use any public WiFi safely. That includes the airport WiFi network, WiFi at cafes, and hotel WiFi hotspots.
The hidden deal behind free public WiFi connections
While traveling abroad due to office work or going out with family, it’s natural for people to visit shopping malls and cafes. Free WiFi hotspot is probably what most visitors ask cafe owners first of all. Free WiFi is an absolute luxury when visiting foreign countries for office trips and family vacations.
According to some surveys, many tourists consider fast wireless internet facilities more vital than hotel laundry service, catering, or location. Nowadays, almost all hotels worldwide provide free WiFi access to their guests and market themselves with this specific facility.
However, the convenience of browsing the internet and streaming Netflix while relaxing in your hotel room has its price: a potential risk of cyber-attacks.
Is hotel WiFi a secure connection?
As noted earlier, hotel WiFi security is inefficient, and hackers can easily exploit it. The lack of proper security is because your hotel’s main aim is to provide you with a friendly and comfortable environment, not stealthy cybersecurity.
Hotel management puts little or no effort into protecting their ‘open to all‘ WiFi networks.
While getting free access, guests are asked to create a log in password and username. Most guests enter their room or contact number, and a password gets created for that specific login device. The entire responsibility for the overall network security is one weak password, which is the same as having no password.
Many hotels entirely skip the authentication procedure, allowing malicious traffic from anyone or anywhere to connect to their free WiFi network. With the weak implementation and irregular monitoring of firewalls, and improper data security, wireless networks remain vulnerable to malicious identity theft, cyber-attacks, and data leaks.
The biggest threat to your privacy is a cyber hacker’s ability to establish a silent bypass medium between your device and the WiFi access point. The user’s screen, notification, and activity are visible to the hacker, who can intervene.
Is hotel WiFi reliable for banking transactions?
Free and unsecured WiFi connections are not recommended for banking transactions. If you have connected to unsecured WiFi, there is a high chance of your online activities getting monitored by hostile third parties, commonly known as cyber hackers.
Consequently, anyone intervening in an unsecured hotel WiFi can fetch your private data. That includes photos and other data on your device, login credentials, financial account history, and other personal information.
Unless you have not subscribed to a reliable VPN such as ExpressVPN or NordVPN and installed it on your device, don’t try to access your bank or other sensitive accounts on WiFi. In essence, avoid any online transaction while on a hotel WiFi unless you have proper protection.