If you are concerned about using hotel internet for your browsing, then this article is for you. It is often a challenge for the visitor to protect himself/herself from unwanted checks on what he/she is browsing on the hotel’s internet. This article will guide you on various issues involved in online activity using the hotel internet. Continue reading to find out how can you do secure browsing and conceal your browsing history from the hotel.
Can Hotels See What You Are Browsing
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Can hotels see what you are browsing with VPN?
Now that you know you cannot trust a public network including a hotel internet, the question of using VPNs arises. If you are thinking can hotels see what are you browsing using VPN, then no, the hotel cannot see what surfed on the internet. The only thing hotel management knows about is that you are using a VPN for internet browsing.
Adding on to this, the hotel can also not see what websites you are visiting and what apps you logged in using a VPN.
The VPN shifts your IP address and encrypts all your data and traffic transmitted to the servers. The network administrators can watch traffic logs based on their IP address. However, when you use a VPN, you will not be using an IP address that belongs to the hotel’s internet. VPN ensures that all your sensitive information and data remains safe including the websites you are visiting are also away from hotel staff’s eyes, hackers, or even the government.
Can hotels see what you watch on TV?
Generally, a hotel cannot see what you are watching on TV as a guest. However, if this is a hotel that runs on a pay-per-view TV system, then definitely yes. The hotel will be able to see what you’ve watched on the TV and for how long. The hotel staff, after the guest checks out can see what shows and movies the guest has watched.
Is it safe to use hotel wifi with iPhone?
We all know that Apple has designed the iPhone and its iOS software keeping in mind the security of the user. Usually, an iPhone is not exposed to malware, viruses, and other software security threats in comparison with other Android devices and PCs.
However, an un-updated iPhone lacks Apple’s security architecture and security updates, it no longer remains safe for the user to do critical transactions and other sensitive browsing.
That said, an iPhone is sometimes at risk if runs on an outdated security application. Since the loopholes in the iPhone are very difficult to find, hackers mostly cannot reach to users’ confidential data. But you must check whether your iPhone is fully updated and upgraded to become aware of potential data breaches.
How does hotel WiFi work?
The WiFi infrastructure of a hotel is quite similar like you have in your home. The chain goes like this- Internet>ISP>Metro Network>Infra in Hotel.
The only difference is that at large hotels, more access points are needed to cover the hotel premises. Since more points are required, more switches are needed to access the points. Along with this, a hotel also may have a PMS with integrated bandwidth management.
Coming to how the WiFi work for the guest user, it’s pretty easy and simple. The guest only needs to search the available WiFi networks in his/her area and enter the password provided by the hotel staff.
Are there any guidelines or best practices for guests to follow to protect their privacy while using the hotel’s internet connection?
To protect one’s privacy, the guest should follow the below tips while using the hotel’s internet-
- Use a reliable and true VPN that ensures your data and all activities remain private and safe.
- The guest can also use a mobile hotspot as an alternative to using the hotel’s internet connection.
- Avoiding sharing your sensitive data such as opening or sending files, card information, and accessing business emails is considered one of the best practices to remain safe while using the hotel WiFi.
What types of data does the hotel collect from guests’ internet usage, if any? (e.g., websites visited, search queries, device information)
The hotel may not track your data intentionally, but your data can be fetched easily by it. Since the hotel servers are pretty much the same as any other entity’s server, they can collect log files and internet usage, and also other information relating to your digital identity and browsing habits.
WiFi usage increases the probability of you getting attacked by a hotel hacker. The hotel can access the following data from your internet usage-
- The exact date and time you connected to hotel’s internet.
- The total time you used their data and stayed connected to the internet.
- Time spent on a specific website can also be detected.
- Particular URLs you visited on a website and for how long.
- The unencrypted HTTP traffic can also be fetched.
- Even the source and destination IP addresses can be found.
In addition to these details, the hotel can also keep your personal details while you check in such as your name, surname, address, etc.
How can guests ensure their internet browsing remains private and secure while using the hotel’s network?
In most cases, hotels do not care about your personal security. Hence, it becomes your sole responsibility to save yourself from the unprotected WiFi hotspots of the hotel. be advised to follow these tips-
- Know that your data is at risk– The hotel internet is usually unprotected and possess a great threat to the guest. Know that a hacker finds such public places easiest to steal data for illegal purposes. Being aware of the potential data theft will keep you alert whenever you are checking in a hotel.
- Check if the Wifi hotspot is fake– Many a time, hackers set up fake hotspots (also known as evil twin networks) to think the guest they are legit. If your device detects two hotspots with a similar name, it is advisable to not connect with either of them. Check with the hotel’s staff instead which hotspot is the real one.
- Do not login into highly sensitive accounts– You should not make any online banking transactions or use any other financial service during your stay at the hotel. Either you can use your personal data connection or do not log in at all. Your banking details are highly vulnerable and their leakage will put cause you a high loss if hacked, unfortunately.
- Use encrypted online data– You can use VPNs as a security tool to encrypt your data and make yourself with the unsecured guest WiFi. VPNs hide your real internet protocol address and cipher the data that you transfer or get on the hotel internet, saving you from all snoopers and hackers.
- Keep your firewall enabled– You must enable your firewall to create obstacles in the path of the hacker trying to get into your system. Make sure you use a strong firewall system to do this task.
Can hotel staff access or view the internet history of guests?
The lower level of staff cannot access the WiFi details of the hotel’s internet itself, accessing the guests’ browsing history comes later.
However, the hotel management senior authority does have access to view what the guest is watching, browsing, and logging into. To avoid such privacy breaches, you should use private data connections.
Usually, the hotel’s WiFi admin can also view internet history till the guests’ connection come in contact with the hotel’s network. The admin can also watch guests’ data packets to check which apps they are using and which sites they are visiting. Hence, if you are thinking can hotel see your browsing history, the answer would be affirmative.
So can hotels see what are you doing on their internet? Not if you are using a VPN to browse the internet. The hotels are not able to see your browsing history and internet traffic once you use the encryption shield. In fact, if you use VPN, nobody can check on your internet activities, be it a public network or a private one.
It is always suggested to say protected from such unsecured data connections and public hotspots as much as possible. That is because they are not safe most of the time and you should use high data protection measures. We advise you to never connect with a public WiFi blindly and always keep a VPN turned on while being in public areas.