For RVers on the road and full time RVers, online banking and bill pay is not merely convenience, it's a necessity. Many Hidden Valley RV Park guests have asked us if our WiFi systems at the park are secure. Can they do their banking and visit other privacy sensitive sites? There is also the popular related question about security on Hot Spots in places like Starbucks, McDonalds or libraries. Here are some points to help improve your security on the internet at public places:
While internet security is a vital concern, the bigger question really should be regarding the security provided by the sites you visit. When you visit a site where you will be entering private data or information, be sure the address in the address bar begins with https:// rather than http://. The "s" stands for "secure" and means that the site is encrypted from your device through the local area network, through the wide area network from the site and back to you. So, you are secure from any nosy hackers...they will not be able to see your passwords, user name or data. For a person to have any access to info about others online they first must be on the local network. If you are on a site with "https" in the address, all a would be hacker would see is a bunch of encrypted 'gobbledy goop.' Takeaway: it's more important to be aware of the protection afforded by your banks or other websites when it comes to internet security.
|This may be overkill but some caution is wise when in public places online|
Although location has no bounds when it comes to someone wanting to steal your data, RV Parks are not the common harbingers of hackers. When it comes to hot spots in places like local eating establishments, libraries and airports, a larger threat abounds with hackers who may be looking over your shoulder or even using video cams to scout out what keys you're typing on you tablet or laptop. Some awareness of your surroundings may be wise in such situations.
It is very important to use whatever internet connection you have while traveling to check your bank and credit card accounts often, even daily, to verify that the withdrawals and charges were all made by you or companies that you have authorized. If you notice early on that there is a fraudulent charge you will likely not be liable but if you wait till it comes in on the statement, it's sometimes too late.
So don't get overly anxious about using an RV park Wifi system for sites involving private data. Just remember to verify the security of the site itself with the "https" in the address.
Please feel free to share this post with other RVers that may have the same question.
Teri Blaschke is the RV Park operator of family owned HiddenValley RV Park in San Antonio, TX and writer of the park blog “A Little Piece of Country in San Antonio.” Teri contributes to various other blogs with a focus on either travel or social media and how it relates to the outdoor hospitality industry but her passion is serving the RV travel community by providing a memorable RV camping experience and growing the Hidden Valley RV family. Connect with us on Google+, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter@HiddenValleyRV