Hacked via WiFi on vacation – it happens more often than you think

I’m going on vacation and taking with me: my suitcase, an inflatable flamingo and a hacked iPhone! According to a study, 1 in 4 travelers is hacked via a WiFi during their vacation. This is what’s going on.

Hacked via the WiFi on vacation

According to an recent research 1 in 4 travelers is hacked during the holiday season. This happens both on the way to the holiday destination (think of the airport or train) and on location. In most cases, the culprit is public Wi-Fi networks.

The research comes from NordVPN, provider of a VPN service. Security expert Daniel Markuson of NordVPN knows the reason for this. “It’s common to be on your phone while waiting for a flight or train. However, when people are on vacation, they tend to forget about their online security,” said Markuson. “Hackers take advantage of this and use the vulnerabilities in the public Wi-Fi network at airports and train stations to get their hands on sensitive personal information or company data.”

Why are public Wi-Fi networks dangerous?

The problem is, you never know the real Wi-Fi name of the network you’re connecting to. Is it ‘Schiphol-Wifi’ or ‘Schiphol-Secure’? Hackers take advantage of this and set up a so-called ‘evil twin’. That is a fake WiFi network set up by hackers. It has a similar or at least as reliable name as the real network. You can access the internet with it, but the hacker watches everything you do. Think of personal information (including payment card details, private e-mails and various login details).

But legitimate public Wi-Fi networks can also be potentially insecure. A hacker can connect to an open network at any time, eavesdrop on your online activity, and steal your passwords and personal information. This attack is called man-in-the-middle and is set up by cyber criminals by placing their device between the connection to a user’s device and the Wi-Fi.

Hacked via WiFi on vacation – it happens more often than you think

A VPN protects you!

A reliable method of protecting your personal data is to use a VPN. This works to a limited extent against an ‘evil twin’ network, but especially with a man-in-the-middle attack. A VPN encrypts all your internet traffic so that no one can intercept your personal data. At a man-in-the-middle attack the hacker cannot view your data. And even with an ‘evil twin’ it is much more difficult for a hacker to get to your data.

Which VPN you choose makes little difference. We have generally made good experiences with NordVPN and can recommend this service.

Check out NordVPN’s VPN service

Not in the mood for monthly costs? With a Fritz!Box router you can download a free set up VPN. You then surf on holiday via your home network. This security is – especially for your vacation – just as good as a dedicated VPN service.

More tips for more safety

Finally, we share two extra tips for safer internet surfing on (the way to your) holiday. Together with a VPN you ensure that you are not hacked.

  • Turn off automatic connections. This prevents you from connecting to a network you don’t want to connect to.
  • Do not share your data. Travelers like to make reservations en route. This is of course useful, especially if you have a lot of free time before your flight. Because this also makes your data more vulnerable, we do not recommend booking hotels or airline tickets while connected to a public network. A hacker could just steal online banking or credit card information.

More tips via our newsletter

In our newsletter we regularly share tips for more security on your iPhone. So sign up quickly. Or click through the related articles below.

  • Hacked via WiFi on vacation – it happens more often than you think

  • How to unlock your iPhone without hands (and why it’s dangerous)

  • 8 ways to protect your iPhone from hackers

  • Has your iPhone been hacked? That’s how you find out

  • Best iPhone Antivirus: Do You Need It?

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