Using wireless Internet services while travelling

Travelling anywhere can present various challenges that require us to take precautions. One of the more prevalent hazards today comes from our desire to remain connected. Whether it’s for work, personal email, social updates, entertainment or research, being able to access the Internet is an important component of our travel experience. However, this useful tool comes with its dangers, especially where public Wi-Fi access is concerned.

Make sure you have the correct Internet provider

Hackers probe vulnerabilities to find weaknesses that can allow them to steal important data. An increasingly common tactic involves an identity thief setting up an ad-hoc or peer-to-peer connection that appears to be a normal, public Internet connection. It can be called anything the hacker chooses to name it, but when you log on, you expose all of your information to that hacker's tools. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep that from happening.

Make a secure connection: Make sure your device isn't set to connect to any available wireless network. Go through the official portal provided by the airport or hotel with appropriate login credentials.

Turn off sharing: While sharing a connection across multiple devices and apps is great at home, it's an open invitation to hackers when you’re travelling.

Create your own VPN: A virtual private network (VPN) allows you to create your own private network within the public network. Phones with a mobile hotspot feature are particularly vulnerable to hacker intrusion, so using a VPN is a good idea.

Be smart when you surf

Is it really necessary for you to check your bank account in public? Can you go a few days without logging in to PayPal or eBay? If a site has your private information, try not to log in from a public location. It's also important to clear your history and cache before you travel. While it may be close to impossible to stop a determined hacker who has set his or her sights on you, that situation is actually quite rare. Most hackers are opportunists, and they’re more than happy to steal from the target offering the least resistance.

You can make good use of your internet connection if you need to purchase travel insurance coverage before you leave your province of residence. You can get your travel insurance rate and buy travel insurance on-line before you get on the plane.