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Why You Should Think Twice Before Connecting to Wi-Fi When Traveling

It’s not safe to connect to Wi-Fi when traveling to certain destinations. Here’s why.

These days, traveling is almost impossible without a mobile Internet connection. Between Google Maps, TripAdvisor, Yelp, and other booking and review-based apps and websites, you need your phone to get the most from your trip.

And with international data packages so expensive, you might think a cheap or free Wi-Fi connection is your best bet. But maybe not. Mobile threat defense company Skycure says you should disconnect when traveling in certain high-risk destinations. Here’s why.

Skycure studied the world’s top tourist destinations (based on data from Travel + Leisure) from June 2014 to June 2015 to determine the places most frequently targeted by malicious networks. Times Square in New York City topped the list with the highest threats, followed by Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and Disneyland Paris. The full list of tourist attractions with the highest risks is below.

Where is your network the most secure? Places with remote connections and restricted mobile phone use. The Taj Mahal in India, Universal Studios in Japan, the Great Wall of China, Sydney Opera House, and Great Smokey Mountains National Park round up the top five safest spots to connect to a Wi-Fi network.

RELATED: Best Apps to Prevent Travel Disasters

Android v. iPhones

In a separate study, Skycure found that Android devices were twice as likely to encounter a threat compared to iPhones. According to the study, iOS devices will connect to more Wi-Fi networks overall, but Android devices connect to more malicious networks.

How to Stay Safe

Follow these quick tips if traveling to high-risk destinations:

  • Avoid “Free Wi-Fi” networks (8 percent of the total reported threats came from a network with “Free” in its name).
  • Read warnings on your device before agreeing to Terms and Services.
  • Make sure your device is updated to the most current operating system.
  • Disconnect from a network if your phone has erratic behavior, i.e. frequent crashes or if you receive any warning messages.
  • Download a mobile security app.

Click here to download the full infographic. Click here to download Skycure in the app store.

More from SmarterTravel:

Ashley Rossi is always ready for her next trip. Follow her on Twitter @ashley_stravel for more advice about travel hacks and destination ideas.

By Ashley Rossi

Ashley Rossi is always ready for her next trip. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram for travel tips, destination ideas, and off the beaten path spots.

After interning at SmarterTravel, Ashley joined the team full time in 2015. She's lived on three continents, but still never knows where her next adventure will take her. She's always searching for upcoming destination hotspots, secluded retreats, and hidden gems to share with the world.

Ashley's stories have been featured online on USA Today, Business Insider, TripAdvisor, Huffington Post, Jetsetter, and Yahoo! Travel, as well as other publications.

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