Avoid getting hacked on vacation

Keep your data secure while on vacation

By Tony Statz - Producer

When you're on an amazing summer vacation, you might be tempted to log into your favorite social media site to share your latest photos of you in front of a volcano, on the beach, or underneath the Eiffel Tower. So, where do you find a hotspot?

"Actually, we just went on vacation in Mexico, and the hotel had WiFi, but you had to pay for it, sometimes we go to Starbucks," said Sarah Molenda of Royal Oak.

Before you jump online, remember to protect yourself from hackers. "They always say that its not secure, I mean when you sign into public places like that," said Jerry Lawrence of Detroit.

When you find a WiFi hook-up at the hotel or at the cafe around the corner, experts say you should remember using those hotspots can be risky.

"Whether it's paid or not, whether there's a password involved or not, nearly all of them are completely unsecure. The reason that WiFi hotspots put passwords on their WiFi is not to protect the individual, but rather to limit usage," said Kent Lawson of Private WiFi, a service that helps people protect themselves from hackers.

He offered the following recommendations to protect your personal information while you're on the road:

*Confirm the name of the hotel or restaurants hot spot with the staff, so you don't accidentally log into the wrong spot.
*Disable features on any mobile device that automatically connect to any network within range.
*Don't connect to ad hoc networks, there's no way to tell if they're secure.
*Turn off a device's WiFi connection when not in use.
*When using a WiFi hotspot, only log in or send personal information to websites that you know are fully encrypted. To be secure, your entire visit to each site should be encrypted - from the time you log in to the site until you log out. If you think you're logged in to an encrypted site but find yourself on an unencrypted page, log out right away.
*Do not use the same password on different websites. It could give someone who gains access to one of your accounts access to many of your accounts.
*Many web browsers alert users who try to visit fraudulent websites or download malicious programs. Pay attention to these warnings, and keep your browser and security software up-to-date.
*If you regularly access online accounts through Wi-Fi hotspots, use a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs encrypt traffic between your computer and the internet, even on unsecured networks. You can obtain a personal VPN account from a VPN service provider. In addition, some organizations create VPNs to provide secure, remote access for their employees.

And, finally, if you can wait until you get home, avoid doing too much personal business in public WiFi hotspots. Just focus on having fun while on vacation, and maybe spend a little less time online!

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