Be Wary of WiFi When You Travel

by Jan Davies McDermott on September 23rd, 2015

One free Wi-Fi scam to watch out for is when a hotel promises free Wi-Fi but provides such a slow connection that you need to shell out up to $15 per day extra for a decent connection.

The newest Wi-Fi scam (as reported by NBC) is even more nefarious.  Imagine you're in your hotel's lobby (or the airport, or at a popular tourist attraction, or in a coffee shop—the possibilities are endless) and there you find the Shangri-La of our connected world: a free Wi-Fi hotspot that doesn't require a password. You log in, check your Facebook, read a few articles (ours, hopefully), and then go on your merry way.

One problem. That free Wi-Fi hot spot may be run by hackers, and they may be targeting your personal information and data: private pictures and videos, your social security number, your credit card, your mobile payment accounts, or your insurance information, just for starters.
Hackers may use both SSL decryption (to capture your personal information) and SSL stripping (to downgrade secure domains—those URLS that start with "https" instead of "http"—and gain access to your passwords and payment information).

Nice people, right?

So, the moral of the story here: Don't just blindly accept that the free Wi-Fi you're seeing is legit. And even if you're expecting there to be free Wi-Fi available wherever you're choosing to log in, make sure you're connecting to the right free hotspot. Otherwise you might just find a hacker waiting for you on the other side.


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