We’ve all been there; you’re travelling to a hotel with your family or for work, and the person at the front desk tells you there’s free WiFi and the password is on the table. You get up to your room and find the WiFi password for the guest WiFi, and it almost seems too easy. Even if the password is as secure as Fort Knox, you might still be wondering: is hotel WiFi safe?
Unfortunately, hotel WiFi is not always safe, but you can take action to protect yourself. We take you through the security risks of hotel WiFi and how you can protect yourself when browsing with Chrome or other browsers.
Is Hotel WiFi Safe?
Hotel WiFi is usually safe, and you don’t have to worry too much about people stealing your data. That said, hotels aren’t there to provide you with cybersecurity – they’re there to give you a relaxing place to sleep at night.
Therefore, hotels don’t always have the best encryption, and sometimes fall victim to hacks and other problems.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to avoid using public WiFi without protection from a VPN or other security methods.
Is Hotel WiFi Private?
Yes and no. Hotel WiFi is private in the sense that other people won’t be able to see your browsing history or what you search for. However, the hotel staff can request your data if they need to. While this is rare, the admin of the WiFi can view the search history and the devices that are on the WiFi system. Still, people with some technical know-how can learn your browsing history as well, so keep this in mind.
Ultimately, hotel WiFi is usually safe but it’s a good idea to take extra precautions. It’s easier to prevent hackers from getting in rather than trying to get them out.
How to Protect Yourself When Using WiFi in a Hotel
When you’re visiting your favourite hotel or resort, or really any public location, there are a few ways to protect yourself. Plus, you can still use your favourite browsers, like Google Chrome, without having to worry about someone stealing your data, viewing your search history, or hacking your device. The two best ways are to opt for a different WiFi (like your own hotspot) and to download a VPN.
Download a VPN
A virtual private network (VPN) is one of the best tools you can leverage to stay safe when you’re using hotel WiFi. It’s one of the few tools that can keep your data safe from bad actors online because it encrypts your Internet connection.
Even if you’re on hotel WiFi, a VPN creates a connection between remote servers and your device to create a point-to-point tunnel that shields you from hackers.
Use a Mobile Hotspot
Mobile hotspots are a surefire way to stay safe when you’re using hotel WiFi. This is because your smartphone can become a WiFi-emitting device; it takes the data from your provider and converts it to a local WiFi network that your devices can connect to. WiFi speeds vary but it can be effective if you’re in a pinch.
When using mobile hotspots, keep an eye on how much data is used. Going over your data limits will result in hefty fees.
Bonus Tip: Lookout for Fake Networks
Always keep an eye on fake networks. Guest WiFi is usually named after the hotel, and the hotel will give you a piece of paper or a note with the WiFi password. When connecting to hotel WiFi, make sure you examine the name of the WiFi network to avoid joining the wrong one and falling victim to a hacker.
NordVPN Has You Covered
The best VPN to download for your device is NordVPN, especially if you want to install it as a Chrome browser add-on. It’s one of the few private networks that uses military-grade encryption to protect your data.
What’s more, NordVPN has servers around the world, so you can have your internet routed to any of their servers to make your IP address look like you’re browsing from somewhere else. Another benefit of this? You can keep up with all of your shows, even if you leave the country. Plus, it’s compatible with Chrome; you can download their Chrome extension here.
If you plan on using hotel WiFi because you don’t want to burn a hole in your wallet with a mobile hotspot, we always recommend NordVPN.