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Hotel Guests Surfing Unsafe Networks

Hotels manage to make guests feel like they are in a home away from home by offering various amenities that the guest would normally have.† One of the most requested, and most often used, amenities is an active Internet connection.† While guests can surf the Internet, check e-mails, or teleconference back home, they fail to notice just how unsafe most Internet connections really are.

Hotel guests travel for various reasons, ranging from business trips to weekend getaways.† With the modern tech-era upon us, one of the most requested hotel amenities is an active Internet connection.† As guests settle in they use the hotelís Internet connection to surf the web.† What most people fail to notice is that Internet privacy and security offered by a hotel is quite minimal.† Guests expect the hotel to be a home away from home and Internet access allows them to be more productive or stay in touch with people back home.† While this is a common amenity, most guests fail to realize how unsafe the network connection actually is.

According to researchers many of the Internet connections hotels offer are quite unsafe.† Most of the Internet connections offered are not properly secured and leave guests open to many privacy risks.† Researchers gathered written information from various hotels and personally visited other properties and the findings were astounding.† Roughly 20% of all hotels use simple network hubs to connect guests to the Internet.† This means about a fifth of the hotels you have ever stayed at are allowing you to connect to an unsecured network.† This means all the packets of data being sent over the network can be seen by other users, allowing them to access your personal data.† 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.

Of the hotels that do offer Internet access, 90% of them offer wireless connections.† This adds an extra layer of protection since the router used to get the signal out has built-in security features.† Even though a router does offer advanced security features, it still does not mean the userís personal information is being protected.† Man-in-the-middle attacks are still possible, and more than one of every five hotels have reported attacks and malicious activity on their network.† Man-in-the-middle attacks allow an attackerís computer to act as an Internet gateway and intercept all network traffic.† Very few hotels using wireless Internet have encryption enabled on their network and researchers found only about 15% of the studied properties thought of going above and beyond their standard router and securing their network!† Anyone using a hotel's Internet connection should assume the worst and hope for the best.

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.† Surfing via private proxy servers 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 entityPsychology Articles, but going above and beyond the bare minimum on your own accord to stay safe.

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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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