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What’s the Code? Vulnerabilities of complimentary Wi-Fi

As summer nears, many families are excitedly contemplating their vacations. For top executives, though, getaways seldom enable them to put aside work matters. This usually equates with use of hotel Wi-Fi to keep up to speed on essential projects.

Most hotels now offer complimentary Wi-Fi connections to their guests. By using one’s cell phone or other electronic devices, that crucial message or file is just a few keystrokes away – at no extra charge. However, that same hotel Wi-Fi can also provide a “target-rich” environment for an experienced hacker hoping to gain access to data. This vulnerability is especially true for devices lacking proper encryption and strong passwords.

Accounts vary, but there are estimates that between one-fourth and one-third of security breaches occur on hotel networks. Cybercriminals aren’t so much interested in the individual laptop or email address as they are in stealing the victim’s online ID, thereby gaining access to the upstream resources accessible by the victim. The target isn’t the laptop itself, but company servers, emails, and other remote resources.

In their efforts to make Wi-Fi networks widely accessible, hotels have minimized the security layers, which makes it easier for skilled hackers to access unsecured devices. This is not to say that hotel Wi-Fi should never be used. There are means by which risk can be minimized, such as the use of a suitable firewall, deactivation of any sharing services, and close scrutiny of all security certificates. Also, many experts recommend avoidance of the old POP/SMTP email protocol. Moreover, utilizing a virtual private network (VPN) is a good move.

Furthermore, making your laptop and mobile devices more difficult to hack will typically lead the crooks to other, lower hanging fruit.

For more advice, or to speak at length with an authority on secure electronic communications, call the professionals of ResultQuest® at 713/781-9040. We will help you to achieve security and peace of mind.