Is there any danger associated with utilizing hotel wireless internet for banking and e-mail? Is it beneficial to use HTTPS or a VPN?
In summary, we do not advocate unprotected surfing on hotel Wi-Fi, since it, like any other public Wi-Fi network, is not especially safe. Due to the high volume of users and the loose approach to Wi-Fi security that hotels often adopt in leisure locations, hotel Wi-Fi is probably the least secure form of public Wi-Fi.
Hotels have varying degrees of data security
- It is not advised to use the hotel’s Wi-Fi without protection, save for the most basic and insecure surfing (do not enter passwords or sensitive data).
- While selecting the hotel’s Wi-Fi with the green HTTPS padlock is somewhat more secure, it is not advised at this time due to the possibility of being hacked by anybody who understands what they’re doing.
- Using hotel Wi-Fi with a VPN is always safe and encouraged, since a VPN secures your personal information and is almost impossible to steal.
The risks of unprotected hotel Wi-Fi
Hotel Wi-Fi is a subset of public Wi-Fi. In summary, it is not regarded as a particularly safe type of Wi-Fi in comparison to home networks, owing to the high volume of users and the user’s lack of security control, since the network is managed and configured by someone else.
For obvious reasons, hotel Wi-Fi is often configured with customer service in mind, with the convenience of access taking precedence over security.
Hotels aim to connect visitors to the internet as readily and fast as possible, which often results in networks that are not especially safe or private.
For instance, it is not unusual to see Wi-Fi passwords just posted to a hotel lobby, allowing anybody who enters to write them down and join the network.
This simplifies usage but compromises security since anybody may just stroll around and get the network password.
Anyone with access to the hotel’s Wi-Fi network and the ability to hack it may view everything else on the network. If individuals utilize Wi-Fi for personal purposes such as email, banking, online payments, and social networking, this may represent a major security concern. It is very simple for an experienced hacker to conduct a “Man in the Middle” attack on an unprotected public Wi-Fi network, in which he places himself between the transmitter and receiver and intercepts any data transmitted over the network.
As a result, if you input private passwords and information over an insecure public Wi-Fi network, you run the danger of having your data stolen or your account compromised.
Is it necessary to use the green HTTPS padlock while connecting to hotel Wi-Fi?
In theory, surfing with a green “secure” HTTPS padlock in the browser’s top-left corner should increase the security of your connection.
This padlock indicates that your connection is encrypted, which implies that any data sent over that connection is “scrambled” using methods that should make intercepting and hacking more difficult.
By default, every site on which you log in and/or input sensitive data should have this green HTTPS padlock enabled. In this regard, some may claim that this should be enough to safeguard you while using a public Wi-Fi network. If all of the major, influential websites already use the green lock, why do we need more?
However, in the contemporary world and for a skilled hacker, it has been shown that this HTTPS protocol may be hacked.
In summary, we do not suggest simply relying on a green HTTPS padlock to protect your data when using hotel Wi-Fi.
While this may be an adequate level of protection for a small private home Wi-Fi network, it is insufficient for a large, readily accessible hotel network where a significant number of total strangers log in.
HTTPS may be a good choice in a few circumstances
The following are some very rare instances in which it may be appropriate to depend only on the green HTTPS padlock while using hotel Wi-Fi:
- When you are not logged in or attempting to input personal information (e.g., credit card numbers, passwords, names, emails, etc.).
- Navigation is very easy and does not require a high degree of safety (for example, viewing weather forecasts or sports results).
- By utilizing YouTube and other video sites, as long as your login password is not entered.
- If you intend to input site login information at any point (email, banking, social networking, or shopping), it is advised that you use a VPN.
Is a VPN really necessary for public Wi-Fi?
Some individuals may question whether a premium VPN service is worth the money, particularly if they do not travel often or frequently use public Wi-Fi. Is it worth spending $3–6 a month for a secure connection when they’ve never had any issues using public Wi-Fi in the first place?
In our opinion, a VPN is well worth the expenditure and should be seen as a modest cost in exchange for the peace of mind and protection of their important personal information.
The value for money grows with use, which makes it especially appealing to business travelers and other regular visitors who rely heavily on public Wi-Fi.
Certain individuals may want to test their luck using public Wi-Fi and are unconcerned about internet security. Similarly, those who only use public Wi-Fi on a very rare basis may choose a free VPN service.
Therefore, it is prudent to consider a VPN as a kind of insurance against this type of threat. A VPN significantly lowers the danger of personal data theft online in hotels and other public locations by protecting all connections on public Wi-Fi networks.
They should be a necessary tool for preserving online privacy on public networks in today’s environment.
Choose the best VPN for hotel Wi-Fi security
For the reasons stated above, we think that using a VPN to access the internet through hotel Wi-Fi or any public Wi-Fi network in general, such as those found in airports, cafés, restaurants, and libraries, is critical in today’s environment. This is particularly important for any kind of navigation that requires you to provide a password or other personal information, such as map details.
You might argue that a VPN is unnecessary for extremely basic surfing such as weather forecasts and news, but the fact is that the majority of people use the internet for more than that, even on vacation.
They will eventually log into their email, social media, or bank, necessitating the need for a Virtual Private Network.
A VPN is a piece of software that establishes a robust, secure, and encrypted connection to a wireless network, ensuring that all surfing on the network and your device is private and safe. Nobody else can see the sites you browse or the information you input.
It is often very simple to sign up for a VPN. Simply visit the website, register, pay for your membership, download the software, and begin using it.
Once the application has been started, all that remains is for you to choose the desired server location and establish the VPN connection. After that, you’ll have a secure connection that no one else on the Wi-Fi network can see or access.
VPNs are almost impossible to hack, even for seasoned hackers, and are a necessary security measure when connected to any unprotected Wi-Fi network, such as those found in hotels.