Is Hotel Wifi Safe? No, and Here’s Why

A version of this blog was first published by NordVPN in 2019.

Hotel WiFi security is pretty lax, and the reason behind it is very simple: your hotel’s job is to offer you convenience and comfort, not cybersecurity. So typically, they put little to no effort in protecting their guest network.

The lack of simple protection and proper data encryption, along with the large number of potential victims, is precisely what makes wireless networks wide open to cyber attacks, identity theft, and data snooping.

The biggest threat to your privacy is the ability for a cybercriminal to insert themselves as a secret intermediary between your device and the connection point. In such case, any information that you send or receive over the Internet passes through the hacker.

So basically, each time you connect to an unsecured wireless network, you are putting your private data at risk of being exposed. If your hotel’s WiFi is on a cyber criminal’s radar, they can use a variety of techniques to invade your privacy.

Is there a way to stay safe on your hotel’s WiFi?

Since hotel WiFi security is pretty much non-existent, it is up to you to protect yourself from any possible data thieves and random snoopers. Here’s how:

  • Be aware of potential risks. If the network is left unprotected, chances are some cybercriminal is lurking there to steal your private data.
  • Avoid logging into your work or online banking accounts, and use your mobile data for any financial transactions. It may be more expensive but will keep your money safe.
  • Never join a new network blindly. Hackers create rogue hotspots to trick users into thinking they are legitimate. If you see two similar WiFi names, ask the hotel’s staff which is the real one.
  • Enable your firewall to stay out of trouble in case anyone attacks your hotel network. A reliable firewall provides a strong gateway defense, which means trouble for criminals trying to access your system.
  • Encrypt your data. VPNs are simple encryption tools that can be used by anyone. It’s called a VPN (Virtual Private Network) – a technology that helps you stay safe even on unsecured wireless networks. It does so in two ways: by cloaking your IP address and encrypting your online communications. As soon as they are protected, nobody can monitor your online activity.

Read the full blog from NordVPN here.