Guest article by Michael Gargiulo, CEO at VPN.com
With reports that Disneyland will (finally) be adding WiFi to select areas of the park in preparation for their rollout of the new MaxPass system, now is a better time than ever to be sure that you and your family have use a VPN at Disneyland or really, at any Disney property.
But how can you be sure which WiFi hotspots are being propped up by evil witches (hackers), and which are being protected by the big Mouse himself? There are a number of ways you can be sure that your devices will be secure the next time you head down to Anaheim for your Disney vacation, and we recommend always using a VPN to create an extra barrier of magical energy that can ward off the bad guys when you need it most.
(The magic barrier is made of 256-bit AES encryption, by the way).
The Hackiest Place on Earth
As we’ve mentioned in previous articles on similar subjects, one of the biggest targets for hackers will always be WiFi hotspots that are in or around big tourist destinations. This happens for a number of different reasons.
First is that when a hacker targets a tourist spot specifically, they can pretty much guarantee themselves two things: one, that everyone in the area will be on the hunt for a free WiFi hotspot if they can find one (tourists rack up more mobile roaming data costs than anyone else), and two, they may not even be able to actually read the same language as the country they’re in, so they’ll automatically connect to an available network without thinking twice.
Disneyland set an all time record for attendance in 2015 with 18.28 million visitors, which means there are more people landing in Anaheim than ever before. All these devices flowing through the park at such a fast rate can prove to be a smorgasbord of unprotected attack points for skilled hackers, which is why it’s important that you’re always completely up to date on the threats that you face every time you’re on vacation or browsing the web away from home.
What to Worry About at Disneyland
Whenever you’re travelling to an unfamiliar destination or you’re in a different country, it can be tempting to try and use any public WiFi you can find in order to save on data costs. It’s here that hackers can exploit people, because that desperation to keep data costs down is where they make all their real money.
While many people believe a day in hacking is all spent sitting behind a keyboard trying to crack through some impenetrable firewall, it’s actually a bit simpler than that under the surface. Many hackers, instead of relying on what’s known as a “brute force” attack (example above), will instead use another technique to get to where they want to go, known as “social engineering”.
This means that standard tricks like setting up a fake WiFi hotspot right next to a real one may be all it takes for you to lose all of your financial information in an instant. Hackers depend on us to be lazy, or not to look up the proper security protocols. It’s in that laziness where they make the bulk of their money, which is why it’s important to always remain vigilant of possible threats, no matter how safe you think you really are.
Once your identity is stolen it can be a long and difficult process to get your finances back on their feet, depending on your bank and credit card provider. If left stranded without any money or a way to get home, you could be stuck in the hotel room next to a laptop and a cell phone trying to repair things while the rest of your family tries not to spend any money in the park.
How Can a VPN Help?
A VPN can work in a number of ways to guarantee none of your private identifying information is stolen while you’re trying to enjoy your time off at Disneyland. One of the most vulnerable times for anyone to experience identity theft is when they’re travelling somewhere, because if the hacker is able to drain your accounts while you’re say – fighting spider queens on the Indiana Jones ride underground with no service – it may be a long time before you’re able to properly react and shut the attack down.
A VPN pre-emptively ensures that any information sent or received by your devices is first sent over a protected, uncrackable tunnel of 256-bit AES encryption. So say if you’re sending your credit card information to your change your flight with the airline (to book an extra day of surprises for the family from the hotel room, of course), as safe as the hotel WiFi may claim to be, you’ll still know that your personal financial data will remain locked up behind the best defense system that money can buy.
While we at VPN.com recommend using a VPN whether you’re at home or on vacation, it’s especially important that you don’t suffer the consequences of identity theft when you’re in a place that’s the least equipped to handle it. It could be their first or their fifth time at the Happiest Place on Earth, but kids always remember their trips to Disneyland. Don’t let their memories of the Magic Kingdom get cut short by villainous hackers who want to steal the princess (your credit card details) away forever.
If you know you need to get a VPN or simply would like to read more about the VPNs that are out there feel free to check out the other review pages here on VPNPICKS.com or visit VPN.com’s Top 10 VPN Reviews.
Thank you for reading! My name is Michael Gargiulo and I am the CEO at VPN.com where we have the vision of providing secure, private internet to 100M people by 2022. Before VPN.com, I was the owner of ProxyServer.com which offers a simple web proxy for more than 5,000 users per day. Feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn by clicking on my name above, if you would like to know more about our project. Finally, thank you to Peter from VPNpicks.com for making this post happen!