The smell of cinnamon and coffee permeate the air as you step into the hotel breakfast bar. You notice a few people softly huddled around their tables eating and discussing their eagerly awaited vacation plans, while most other people are consuming the morning news on their mobile devices because this is the 21st century after all (there is something about the feel of a physical newspaper, though).

What do you think most of them are doing wrong?

Holding their iPhones in one hand over their large coffee cups while texting?

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While that may not be the smartest thing to do, that’s not the problem. The problem is that those people think the data transmitted from their iPhones is safe. In their defense, they did everything asked of them: connected to the hotel Wi-Fi and input the password that the front desk gave them. So, is it their fault if the data on their phones gets stolen? Yes.

Unfortunately, the hotel can do little to protect its customers from electronic theft. Only you can ensure that the data on your phone is safe from that well-dressed guy or girl in the corner booth of that wonderful smelling breakfast bar (you didn’t think all evil characters looked like the Joker or Harley Quinn, did you?). 

So, what can you do to keep those less than admirable people from stealing your information?

Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) after connecting to the hotel network. The VPN ensures that the data you're sending to your bank, boss or trusted family member is encrypted and indecipherable if taken by those J Crew or Gap looking characters in the breakfast bar.

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The two best VPN applications that I have found are Cloak and Pure VPN. With both of these applications, all you have to do is connect to your Wi-Fi and then open up the app. Both of them will let you know that your connection is safe and that you can happily start surfing the Internet. 

Lastly, once finished with your work, I recommend turning off the Wi-Fi on your iPhone. Turning off the Wi-Fi capabilities stops it from looking for Wi-Fi networks that you’re not going to connect to anyway.  Also, it helps extend the battery life of your phone, and if you haven’t turned on the “Ask to Join Networks” option under the “Settings/Wi-Fi/Ask to Join Networks” it will keep your iPhone from connecting to fake networks as you walk the promenade.

That's it, for now, Mac geeks. Take care and have fun this weekend! 

Side note: The Methodical Mac blog now has links to the products that I use and highly recommend. So, stop by and grab a few quality items for your Mac.

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