Oftentimes when we travel, we get to an airport or terminus, quickly switch back our phones on, and connect to the next free WIFI that connects us to the world we were missing during the not so connected flights or rides. I for one connect my phone to anything connectable when I’m traveling because I have a great offline phobia (If there is something like that). It’s only when I read about an American lady who was attacked by malware so powerful that she had to stop using her laptop for a while till it was fixed only because she connected to LA Airport’s Free WIFi that I got to think about how much risk I’m exposing myself to by connecting to free wifi.
Is Free WiFi, Really Free?
As a person who doesn’t really believe in free gifts, I sat down and thought, is Free WIFI really free? Most of these Telecoms are charging us an arm and a leg for very few data bundles. A few weeks ago Social media went crazy when data prices went up. We saw a number of jokes and memes making fun of the situation that indeed was not favorable for most consumers. So after charging us that much, why do most service providers then go ahead and give free WIFi to travelers who obviously have the money to travel or for people at a restaurant?
First, I thought the idea was to provide people who are traveling in between cities and counties connection in between flights. then I thought it’s a marketing gimmick to lure all potential customers to their network, I still have crossed every answer that came to my mind as I critiqued it, it didn’t make sense. The answer that lingered on is, there is something that these networks gain that we are not privy to. So what is that, does that mean that we are paying for the Free Wifi in another way?
A few tips to make sure you stay secure even when you are traveling or in another city.
These 4 tips will help you stay safe connection wise should you be traveling or visiting another city for any other reason.
1. Don’t Connect To Any Free Wifi With Devices You Use For Important And Sensitive Stuff.
If you are like me you will know that nothing is for free. You never know who is a real traveler, a guest or a simple innocent bysitter and who is a super hacker just waiting for you to connect so that they can hack your device and harvest whatever information they can lay their eyes on.
2. Do all tasks that need an internet connection on a secure network preferably before you leave home.
I know for people like me who like to see themselves as superhumans who will always be working anywhere and everywhere, connecting to any free network just to check some emails or check today’s stats, free wifi is so tempting. While it’s recommended that when you go on vacation you rest, and if possible go offline, if you have burning tasks, it’s better to do them on a secure network before you leave rather than connecting to any free wifi you come across.
3. Connect To Any Free WIFI with caution even at your secure lodgings.
Like I said before there are a lot of things happening in the background that we are mostly not privy to. Who is the network provider for the hotel you are staying? if you are not so sure, or if you just want to stay safe, refer to number one. Avoid connecting to Hotel Wifi with the devices you use for important and sensitive staff.
4. Get and set up your own internet connection through mobile data.
Its always good to trust the huge Telcos as their services are more secure. Buy a local sim card, get credit, buy bundles and tether your laptop if you badly need to be connected and you don’t know if the connections available to you are secure or not.
At the end not all connections that come with a password are safe, some are just as corny as the free ones. Be very cautious in this day and age. hackers could get to you easily.