A lot of people still think of a VPN as something that is only necessary for unblocking content, sites and services while they are travelling while abroad.
But the key piece of information many people forget about is that a whole slew of bad entities out there are always tracking you. Those who spy on you and track you includes but is not just limited to your home ISP, cell phone provider, work place, hotel, government and others.
In particular a lot of users feel that in a hotel they might be more anonymous on the internet than at home or on their cell phone. While, some systems have a "somewhat anonymous" login where you just enter your e-mail, the e-mail is usually traceable to you and often times, the system requires proof that the e-mail belongs to you.
Most hotels can actually track you much more easily because they require you to enter your room number and name. Once you do that it is easy for them to trace, monitor and intercept your traffic including man-in-the-middle attacks where they can decrypt your login information.
Products like Antlabs IG421 are a fantastic example of why a VPN is necessary to protect your rights and your privacy.
As you can see below one of the features of a typical wifi hotspot in hotels and restaurants is "Searchable Session Logs". As you can see below it "keeps comprehensive logs of tracked devices, sessions, and users, searchable for troubleshooting and investigation purposes".
Is this legal for them to spy on you? Yes, don't worry about it (insert sarcasm). It is all legal because it's in the fine print when you agree to the Terms and Conditions by signing into the WiFi network. Your only solution is to not use the internet at the hotel or accept their terms.
Our soluton is that you should use a VPN account on all your connections whether home, office, cell phone, wifi at the hotel, mall cafe, restaurant etc..
The primary perception of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) remains tethered to their ability to unblock geo-restricted content. However, the role of VPNs extends far beyond this. In the digital age, VPNs act as essential guardians of privacy and data security.
From your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and cell phone provider to your workplace, hotel, and even government entities, several entities are capable of monitoring your digital activity. Each online interaction potentially leaves an identifiable trail leading straight back to you.
Despite the belief that hotel networks offer a degree of anonymity, the reality is quite the opposite. While certain systems appear to provide an "anonymous" login requiring just an email, this information can often be traced back to you, particularly when validation of email ownership is required.
Hotel networks typically ask for personal information like your room number and name. While it may seem harmless, these details provide an avenue for tracking, monitoring, and potentially intercepting your online traffic. This can expose you to cyber threats like man-in-the-middle attacks that can compromise your sensitive data.
A prime example of this is products like Aruba ClearPass, commonly found in hotel wifi systems. Its "Contextual Data Sharing" feature means it collects extensive data on connected devices, user roles, device locations, and more. This level of data collection provides a thorough insight into users' online activities, making VPN use essential.
You might wonder about the legality of such monitoring. Surprisingly, it's often within legal bounds due to the Terms and Conditions that users unwittingly agree to when logging onto the WiFi network. Without resorting to internet abstinence in these locations, users are effectively coerced into consenting to these conditions.
In this context, a VPN emerges as a powerful tool for preserving privacy. By forming a secure, encrypted connection between your device and the VPN server, it effectively blinds unwanted observers. While connected to a VPN, public networks, whether at a hotel or cafe, are left in the dark, unable to monitor or track your activities.
We advocate the use of VPN accounts across all your connections - at home, work, on your cell phone's network, or while using public wifi at various locations. Not only can a VPN foster a more secure and private online environment, but it also upholds your fundamental right to privacy. However, keep in mind that VPNs, while a significant part of a comprehensive security plan, are not an absolute solution and should be accompanied by robust digital hygiene practices.