So you may have often wondered if you are secure when doing you’re banking on-line when connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot like at and RV park or campground. I seem to have had this question a lot during our time traveling when someone finds out I am a “techie”. Well, let me try to put your fears to rest.
In a word…YES. You are secure when you are using a banks website even if you are using an open Wi-Fi network like many campgrounds offer.
The reason… Something called a secure socket layer. (SSL) Go to your bank online… Look up at the browser bar where the URL (website) is shown. Do you see the HTTPS:// ? At the end of the HTTP that S stands for SECURE. (You may also see a little padlock icon or something depending on the browser you may use.) This is telling you that your connection, from your computer to the bank’s server and back to you, is all secured using encryption.
In fact any site you may use, such as G-mail or even Facebook, you see with HTTPS is secure. What that means is that the information sent and received is protected by a “key” that your browser and their server setup between each other before anything else is sent between them.
So yes, you are secure when using your bank or other services even on an open Wi-Fi network as long as the site is HTTP’S’. I bring this up for people sometimes mistakenly think that Wi-Fi security is the protection. This is not the case. Wi-Fi security is only to protect the Wi-Fi connection between the computer and the access point or router. If a password is used to get on the park Wi-Fi, that password is only used to be able to connect to the Wi-Fi network, like a key giving you access through a door. It also does encrypt the data in the air, but ONLY between you and the access point you are connecting to. After that, and surely not on the Internet, it is not encrypted. However that is where HTTPS talked about above comes into play. HTTPS is fully encrypted from your computer on out and back. So, you are secure.
With that said, being on an open Wi-Fi network does come with a small risk of someone using a wireless “sniffer” to try to gather all the data packets you are sending to read no matter whatever it is you may being transmitting. But even with that, any time you are on an HTTPS website, even that “sniffed” data cannot be read.
Now all bets are off if you have gotten yourself a virus, malware, or spyware somehow on your computer, then not even HTTPS can help if someone is tracking your keystrokes. So please be sure your use computer is protected using some sort of anti male-ware or spyware program.
Care for someone else’s word on it? See this video provided by Google about HTTPS:
For how to have better Wi-Fi and Internet in your RV, see RV internet and RV Dedicated Wi-Fi