Prevent Hackers From Accessing Your Computer While Traveling For Business

For business travelers, working on a laptop in a hotel room is standard operating procedure. Using a public Wi-Fi connection at a hotel, however, poses security threats. Anyone can access data sent over public Wi-Fi connections, and, according to the FBI, it's difficult to trace hacks that originate on public connections. Both factors make these networks especially attractive to hackers. There are ways to stay safe while using a public connection, though. If you travel for work, here is how to prevent hackers from breaking into your computer while you're staying at a hotel.

Only Connect to the Hotel's Official Network

Although hotel Wi-Fi networks aren't hacker-proof, they will be the most secure networks available at a hotel. Hackers sometimes set up networks with similar names to lure guests into sending information over their networks instead of the hotel's official network. The hotel's network won't be hacker-proof, but it will be the most secure network available in the area. Even other networks set up by nearby businesses and guests staying at the hotel may not be as secure, because these networks likely won't be as well maintained.

To find out what the name of a hotel's official network is, simply ask the front desk staff when you check in. They should also give you the network's password if there is one. Make sure the network you connect to is spelled exactly as the front desk staff relayed it. To make their networks as plausible as possible, hackers may only change the name by one letter when setting up fake networks.

Don't Send Sensitive Data Over the Hotel Network

Even once you're connected to the hotel's official network, you shouldn't send any sensitive information the network. Remember, any guests -- or anyone else -- who is connected to the network can see all of the information you send on it. Some items you shouldn't ever transmit over a hotel network include the following:

  • your social security number
  • credit card information
  • customers' or clients' data
  • confidential business documents

if you must send sensitive data while you're at a hotel, set up a hotspot with your smartphone's connection. You probably don't want to do all your online browsing through a hotspot created with your smartphone, because this would quickly use up your data plan, and your smartphone's connection is likely slower than the hotel's network. If you must fill out a form or send a confidential email. though, this workaround is a practical and secure solution.

Log Out Of Accounts Regularly

Each time you're done using an account, you should log off of it. Some internet browsers are set to pull up the last-visited websites when they're started up, and many browsers store passwords. Logging out of your accounts each time will stop your browser from automatically pulling up a website that requires a password and entering that password for you.

Turn Off Your Computer When Not Using It

One of the easiest ways to stop hackers is to turn off your computer when you aren't using it. After all, if your computer is off, no one can access it -- including hackers. Waiting for your computer to start up when you want to use it might be inconvenient, but the inconvenience is minor when compared to the potential problems that a hacker could cause.

If you travel for work and regularly stay at hotels, you're going to have to use their Wi-Fi connections at times. Don't let a hacker break into your computer while you're connected to a hotel's network. Use these four tips to keep your computer safe. You'll be protecting both your information and any company data stored on your laptop.