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How to avoid getting hacked while on summer vacation

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More than 40 million Americans will hit the road for a long July Fourth weekend. Despite that overwhelming desire to get away from it all, most of us want to stay connected while on the road.

While traveling, you can expect Wi-Fi at your hotel, at the cafe on the corner or on planes and trains in between. Unlucky for you? It could be risky.

Most Wi-Fi users know to use caution when connected to a free hotspot. However, paying to use Wi-Fi at your hotel or on an airplane can create a false sense of security.

"Whether it's paid or not, whether there's a password or involved or not, nearly all of them are completely unsecure. The reason that Wi-Fi hotspots put passwords on their Wi-Fi is not to protect the individual, but rather to limit usage," said Kent Lawson of Private Wi-Fi.

Here are some tips to avoid having your information hacked or data compromised:

  1. Confirm the name of a hotel or restaurant's hotspot with the establishment's staff.
  2. Disable features on a mobile device that automatically connects you to a network within range.
  3. Don't connect to mobile or wireless ad hoc networks. There's no way to determine if they are secure.
  4. Turn off a device's Wi-Fi connection when not in use.

Another option to protect your data is a virtual private network, also known as a VPN. A VPN creates a secure network within a Wi-Fi connection, usually by logging in through a website or network.