Going on a trip? Be sure to pack Wi-Fi protection.

Protect your devices when on unsecured Wi-Fi with Avast SecureLine VPN.

Protect your devices when on unsecured Wi-Fi with Avast SecureLine VPN.

Relying on your hotel to protect you when using their free guest Wi-Fi protection is not a good idea.

Even the best hotel chains are vulnerable to hackers, so having a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is vital for your protection. I will tell you how easy it is to use below. But first, here’s how cybercrooks can get their victims: One way is through buggy equipment such as the critical vulnerability discovered last March in ANTlabs’s InnGate product used by 277 hotels, convention centers, and data centers in 29 countries. The InnGate provides temporary guest access to a Wi-Fi connection. By breaking into this piece of equipment, an attacker gets full read and write access to a Linux file system and from there can launch attacks against guests on the affected hotel’s Wi-Fi. Another tactic hackers take is to create a fake Wi-Fi network, call it something innocuous like “Hotel Guest Wi-Fi”, and lure unsuspecting victims to their rogue connection. What the hackers do is set up their own access point and hope you’ll connect to theirs instead of the public Wi-Fi network.

What do hackers want?

It depends on who you are and what information you have on your devices. For normal people with normal jobs, typically, the hacker can watch your online activity, read your email, steal your account passwords and if they go deeply enough, potentially steal your credit card information, which is the precursor to identity theft. “There is seemingly no limit to what they could do,” say the researchers who discovered the InnGate vulnerability. Victims’ laptops or mobile devices can be also be infected with malware. Last year, the DarkHotel cyberspies gained access to the computers of high-level executives, government agencies and NGOs, and U.S. executives traveling in Asia, probably to steal nuclear secrets.

How do you protect yourself on free Wi-Fi?

Maybe you’re not packing your country’s nuclear launch codes, but allowing someone to snoop around your private files and steal your Facebook or bank passwords is not acceptable. Thankfully, there is an easy solution to protect yourself when you log on to any free Wi-Fi hotspot anywhere in the world. SecureLine VPN is a one-push-of-the-button little program that connects you to one of 23 servers around the world, giving you your own private encrypted network that no one can spy on. You can use SecureLine on your PC, Mac, and Android devices. All you do is install the program or app, then when you log onto the free Wi-Fi, you start up SecureLine and it automatically connects to the nearest server. You can also choose to connect to any of the other servers, which gives you the benefit of seeing geo-restricted content when you’re traveling. Usually these connections are super-fast, so you don’t even notice a slow-down. SecureLine VPN is a subscription service offered by Avast, but comes with a free trial. Install it now and see how easy it is to be protected.

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