Hotel Guests Facing Unsecured Internet Connections

Published: 01st December 2008
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Hotel guests have a wide variety of reasons for being away from home. There are certainly many different reasons to travel, ranging from business trips to weekend getaways, but with the modern tech-era upon us, one of the most requested hotel amenities is an Internet connection. As thousands of guests settle in and get comfortable, they use the hotel's Internet connection to surf the web. What most people fail to notice is that Internet privacy and security in the hotel industry sub-par. A guest expects their hotel to be a home away from home and Internet access allows them to be more productive during their business trip or keep in touch with their loved ones back home. In reality, that Internet connection is highly volatile and susceptible to many cyber attacks.



Of the hotels that do offer Internet access, 90% of them allow guests to connect wirelessly. This adds an extra layer of protection since the router used to get the signal out has built-in security features. Even those a router does offer advanced security features, it still does not mean the user's personal information is being protected. Man-in-the-middle attacks are still possible, and almost 21% of hotels have reported attacks and malicious activity on their systems. Man-in-the-middle attacks allow an attacker's computer to act as an Internet gateway and intercept all network traffic. Very few hotels using wireless Internet have encryption methods on their network. Researchers found only about 15% of the studied properties, thought of going above and beyond their Linksys router and securing their network! Anyone using a hotel's Internet connection should assume the worst and hope for the best.



According to researchers many of the Internet connections hotels offer are not safe at all. Most of the Internet connections a guest comes across are not properly secured and leave them at risk for a number of privacy risks. Researchers gathered written information from various hotels and personally visited other properties and the findings were quite astounding. Roughly 20% of all hotels used simple network hubs to connect guests to the Internet. This means less than a quarter of the hotels you have ever stayed at are allowing you to connect to an unsecured network where all the packets of data being sent over the network can be seen. Anyone else on that network can access your personal data via the network connection. Ideally, hotels should have security features implemented so only the packets associated with your session should be seen. No other users should have access to the data. This would stop an "interloper" from using a program that saves all packets being sent over the network.



Hotel guests should take the responsibility of securing the Internet connection upon themselves. This will take away the mystery of wondering whether the hotel has a secured connection. An anonymous proxy server is arguably the best way to maintain Internet privacy and online safety. Private proxy surfing will secure the Internet connection by encrypting the data being transmitted over the network. The encrypted information remains that way until it reaches its destination, which holds the code to decrypt the message. Aside from packet sniffing, it is possible for someone to track web surfing habits and gain personal information, even on a secured connection. A proxy will prevent this by masking the IP address allowing the user to safely surf from any connection and maintain complete anonymity. A hotel guest has the ability to stay connected with friends, family, and coworkers, even from thousands of miles away, but many fail to see that Internet security should be dealt with preemptively. It is not a matter of being protected by some other entity, but going above and beyond the bare minimum on your own accord to stay safe.



About the Author:

Tino Bruno is the Internet Marketing Specialist for award-winning software developer Privacy Partners. He has been with Privacy Partners since college and strives to ensure all computer users maintain their Internet privacy and online safety. Come visit Privacy Partners for more information on staying protected while surfing the Internet.

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