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Is Hotel Wi-Fi Safe? Staying Secure on Public Wi-Fi

By Sometime Traveller

Updated on

By today’s standards, having free Wi-Fi in a hotel is a must. Travelers have become accustomed to this pleasant and convenient bonus, actively using it for banking, surfing, and even for work. Few people think about the security of public Wi-Fi networks, and this is a big omission.

A study of safe Wi-Fi networks in hotels, which included 45 known locations, demonstrated this clearly. Not a single network was able to pass the security check. The number of incidents with data privacy violations in public Wi-Fi networks of hotels can be listed for a long time, here is an example of a case when hackers infected devices of business executives with viruses and collected their data.

According to the latest available statistics, Wi-Fi in hotels has become the third most frequently hacked target (13% of the total).

Do I continue? The conclusion is simple, regardless of the size of the hotel, you yourself must ensure that your connection is secure. Below are methods that will help significantly reduce most cyber risks.

Key Cyber ​​Risks of Hotel Wi-Fi Networks

When traveling, many overlook the cybersecurity risks associated with using hotel Wi-Fi. Here are key reasons to avoid it:

  • Lack of Robust Cybersecurity Protection: Hotels prioritize guest comfort over cybersecurity, often resulting in insecure networks.
  • Man-in-the-Middle Attacks: Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks involve cybercriminals intercepting data between two parties.
  • Virus Infection: Hackers add infected code to the data stream, which then monitors the device, sends specific data, or even blocks access to the device.
  • Router Hacking: Hackers can control routers to exploit vulnerabilities and access sensitive information.

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How to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi?

1. Use a VPN

A VPN is the first thing you should start with if you value your data and privacy. If you use a VPN, all data is encrypted before being sent. Even in situations where a hacker interferes with the data flow, he cannot make any profit from it. Intercepting encrypted data is pointless, and it will not be possible to fake the data, since he does not know the key, so after decryption it is impossible to predict the result.

VPN also has additional benefits, for example, you can watch DAZN outside of permitted regions. If your trip includes visiting countries where DAZN or another streaming service is not available, you can use a VPN to replace the IP address and the country to which it belongs. If you need a simple and reliable way to protect yourself – this is a VPN.

2. Check the Network Name

This is necessary to avoid connecting to a fake Wi-Fi network. When you start searching for Wi-Fi networks, you may see 2 networks with almost the same name. One of them is usually an “Evil Twin” and most likely belongs to hackers. It is better to check the network name before connecting. Even the hotels themselves do not control this and usually do not block fake networks.

3. Update Your Devices and Software

Most hacking attacks rely on vulnerabilities in the operating system or software. According to one report, 57% of hacking attacks rely on outdated software. Therefore, those who update their devices are 57% more likely to not even notice a cyber threat. This is considered okay until one of the cybersecurity risks materializes. Be smart and prevent such threats.

4. Limit the Transfer of Important Data

Even if you have used other protection methods, it is reasonable to limit your online activity, especially that which concerns valuable data: personal information, banking operations, access to commercial servers.

For such procedures, it is better to use the mobile Internet, it is much safer. If you do not send confidential data, then any threats associated with data interception will not pose a threat to you.

A Business Woman Checking Phone_ Image by DragonImages - Is Hotel Wi-Fi Safe, Staying Secure on Public Wi-Fi

5. Turn off Auto-Connect

Smartphones have the auto-connect feature enabled by default. If your iPhone can find an unsecured network or one you’ve previously connected to, it will automatically connect to it. There may be a situation where you think you’re using a secure mobile data connection, but your device periodically connects to a public network and puts important information at risk. It’s better to connect to a Wi-Fi network on demand, only when you understand the risks and opportunities, and not in the background.


Public Wi-Fi networks, including those in hotels, are not properly maintained and usually no one is engaged in their cybersecurity. You can’t count on it, considering the number of cyber threats and the frequency of hacker attacks through such networks.

But you can consciously benefit from Wi-Fi networks in hotels if you take care of cybersecurity personally. The listed methods will help prevent the vast majority of cyberattacks. Although it is almost impossible to protect yourself 100%, you can do everything in your power to reduce your risks to a minimum.

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