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Stay Safe When Using Public Wi-Fi at Rio Olympics

August 5, 2016 Tech No Comments Email Email

Rio Olympics is about to start ­ and one of the biggest threats to public security will come from online attacks.

Almost every Olympics participant or spectator will be enjoying free wireless networks, which provide us with easy and mostly free access to the Internet service, but are not able to offer security in most cases, since public Wi-Fi can be hacked-into very easily. There will be around 4,500 unique Wi-Fi access points near Olympic Games venues, according to Kaspersky Labs  – 25% of which will be open or with weak encryption.


As NordVPN has previously reported, hackers are now using sophisticated technology, such as sniffers – a software designed to intercept and decode data when it is transmitted over a network. Wireless sniffers are specifically created for capturing data on wireless networks. A full stadium of people who are using free Wi-Fi is a goldmine of stolen identities for a hacker.

The most common threat, however, is a hacker positioning himself as a hotspot. When that happens, a Wi-Fi user will be sending their information to a hacker, and that could include credit card information, all emails, and any other sensitive information they might be transmitting. This is extremely easy for a hacker to do, as Wi-Fi spots rarely require authentication to establish a connection.

The best and most effective way for any traveler to protect their data is to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). A VPN service encrypts all the traffic flow between the Internet and a device thus hiding user¹s IP address.

Choose a VPN that is easy to use. For example, with NordVPN users only need to log in and press the ON button. The app will then choose the fastest server to connect to, in a country of your choice. That¹s all it takes to hide your IP address and to start safe browsing.

Also, beware of free VPN service providers, as they typically rely on third party advertisers to cover the costs. Often they are free proxy services, marketed as a VPN service, when in fact proxies are not encrypted (they just change your IP address, but do not encrypt your data).

Besides protecting your safety and security when you are traveling, a VPN can also help you access geo-blocked sites. For example, social media sites such as WhatsApp occasionally get blocked in Brazil. Using a VPN would allow you to bypass these blocks by setting your connection to another country and appearing to be in the U.S., for example. In addition, you can stream as if you were in USA or UK: with a VPN, you can access most streaming services just as if you were in the U.S. – and that includes Netflix, Spotify, Pandora, Hulu, YouTube with local restrictions and so on.

Besides using a VPN, travelers should use an antivirus, secure browsers and automatically update their software (More Tips).

NordVPN now offers 50% off (or $4 USD per month with a yearly plan) to all Rio Olympics participants and fans. Go to NordVPN site, choose your plan and enter Rio50off promotional code at the checkout (case sensitive). The promotion will be valid till the end of the Olympics ­ August 21, 2016.

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