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On-the-go Wi-Fi safety: 5 tips for smarter travel

Stay Safe Online offers the following tips for keeping your devices and connections safe while traveling.

Whether you plan to explore the United States on a road trip, hit the beach in the Caribbean, tour a castle in Europe, or hike in South America, these five Wi-Fi safety tips will keep you secure throughout your journey.


Keep a clean machine.

Ensure that your devices are up to date with the latest antivirus, firewall protection and operating system patches.


Stop and think before you connect to public Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi 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 Wi-Fi and be cautious about the sites you visit and the information you send.


Paid Wi-Fi doesn’t mean “safe” Wi-Fi.

Just because you paid for Wi-Fi access, it doesn’t mean it’s safe. There is no encryption to stop anyone from eavesdropping on your communications, so make sure you protect yourself from cyber criminals.


Beware of evil twins.

Cyber criminals sometimes set up evil twins – Wi-Fi networks that look real, near legitimate public Wi-Fi networks. If you connect to them, all your communications can be captured. It can be hard to tell the difference, so confirm the name of the hotspot with the owner before you connect.


Use VPN to encrypt information on all your devices.

If you use public Wi-Fi while you travel, the only way to guarantee your security is to use a virtual private network (VPN), like private Wi-Fi, to encrypt your personal data in wireless hotspots. Remember, Wi-Fi signals are just radio waves. Anyone in range can “listen in” to what you send and receive. Antivirus or firewall software won’t protect you – but a VPN encrypts all your communications no matter where your travels take you.