More and more travelers check the button for “free WiFi” as they visit hotel engines and search for where they are to stay during the travel. It is important to have wireless network available in the hotel or apartment, because in that way they can check their emails and keep contact with home, even if they are far away from home. Others do not care so much for Internet at their place of accommodation, but it is then important to grab a cup of coffee, or have a lunch in a restaurant or café where they have free wireless Internet available. Both solutions are convenient and working great, but it is important to watch out when using such open networks, because people with bad intentions can easily steal passwords and confidential information as you surf the net unencrypted.
When using open WiFi
When you connect your laptop to the open WiFi (unencrypted) at your hotel you get access to the WWW. The problem is though that whatever information you sent is like a letter you send from A to B written in your beautiful language. It is not especially protected, so anyone with a bit of knowledge and skills can easily grab hold of the information sent. If the person has some bad intentions with his knowledge he can thus easily steal confidential information and get access to email accounts, social media accounts and so on.
How to protect yourself?
There are several ways to protect yourself. The most important and basic solution is not to pass on confidential information using open networks on sites that are unencrypted. Take a look at the address of the website you want to visit. If you can see a https:// in the address instead of http:// it means that they are using a more secure way of sending your data, making it much harder for people to sniff your data. Sites such as Gmail, Facebook and Twitter use the https:// by default nowadays. If there is no encryption in use at the site asking for usernames, passwords and other confidential information of yours, then you better be careful.
A VPN is the ideal solution
A great way of protecting yourself as you are out traveling and using open wireless networks in hotels, restaurants and coffee shops is to use a VPN. A VPN is a so-called Virtual Private Network. It connects your device connected to the Internet to a server somewhere else. All information sent between your computer and the server will be encrypted, making it impossible for people to steal your information and private data. There are different kinds of VPN protocols using different kinds of encryption technology, but in general it can be said that all of them are safe and able to protect all your data as you are out traveling.
There are several VPN providers on the market and if you search the Internet you will find the names of hundreds of VPN providers waiting to offer you their services. One recommendation is to find a VPN provider with servers in as many nations as possible, especially those to which you would like to travel. In other words, if you are planing on visiting Bulgaria, make sure to find a VPN provider with server(s) in Bulgaria. Connecting to a server near your actual location gives much better chances for good download speeds, so instead of connecting to a server in Brazil as you travel in the UK, find a VPN service with a server in the UK and connect to one of those.
There are some VPN providers which add a function in their VPN clients making you automatically connect to a VPN server with the best possible speeds as you log on to an open WiFi network. That way you can calmly sit down in Starbucks, drink a coffee and use the WiFi, because in the moment you connect to their wireless network, the VPN application will connect to a VPN server and protect all information you send and receive.