We think Japan is one of the most friendly, welcoming places to take your next vacation. It’s regularly ranked among the safest places in the world to live and visit, and there is definitely truth to the story of lost wallets, passports, and smartphones regularly being turned into a local police officer or train attendant. There should be no fear in coming to Japan. However, there is one important question you need to consider before your trip to Japan.
Is Free WiFi in Japan Safe?
Put the words “free” and “WiFi” in the same sentence and it can feel like winning the lottery! Who doesn’t want free WiFi, especially when you’re in a foreign country and can’t speak the language? But as with any technology designed to make the world a better place, there are always people who try abuse weaknesses in the technology free WiFi hotspots are no different. No matter what country you live in or visit, using free WiFi hotspots without protecting yourself runs a major risk of data theft; Japan is no exception. If you don’t take necessary steps to protect your smartphone or laptop, it’s possible that you are unknowingly allowing your personal information to be collected by strangers. No one wants to be the victim of data theft. So what precautions can you take to help lessen the possibility?
5 Ways to Protect Yourself when Using Free WiFi in Japan
The following tips for protecting your smartphone or laptop from data theft should be considered whenever you log in to free public WiFi-this even includes cafes, hotels, libraries and municipal accounts.
1. Use a VPN when connecting to a free WiFi hotspot.
VPNs are a great way to fight data theft when accessing free WiFi in Japan. What a VPN does is encrypt your data between two secure points. This means that if someone tries to collect your personal information while you are sending and receiving it between your smartphone or laptop and another website (this includes logging in to bank accounts, social media, e-mail, Skype, and more) the person trying to capture your information will only see confusing display of random letters, numbers, and characters. To get a VPN app for your smartphone or laptop, visit your device’s App Store and search for “VPN”.
2. Never log in to a free WiFi hotspot that doesn’t require a password.
If you decide to connect to free WiFi in Japan that doesn’t require you to provide a password, we suggest that you do your best to keep unnecessary surfing to an absolute minimum. Free WiFi without a password is one way data thieves use to entice people to open the “data door” for them. This means if you’re lost in Japan and need to access Google Maps, then find your directions and disconnect to the hotspot as soon as possible.
3. Never log in to a free WiFi hotspot that has a generic name.
If a hotspot shows up with the name “Free WiFi”, you can likely read it as “Give me your personal information”. Hotspots that blatantly try to get you to log in are likely too good to be true. Legitimate hotspot providers will name their services appropriately, often with the company name, so if you see “Free WiFi,” don’t connect.
4. Create unique passwords for your accounts.
You can decrease potential data theft by creating unique passwords for each account you own (bank, e-mail, social media, etc.). If by chance you accidentally give up sensitive information, you can at least lessen your concerns knowing that no other accounts can be accessed by data thieves.
5. Connect to the Internet using a secure Japan WiFi rental.
Japan WiFi rentals like data SIM cards and portable WiFi routers can offer you secure connections, which means you don’t have to worry about Tips 1-4 (no VPNs, no hotspots names, no unique passwords, and no stolen data). For the price of a dinner for two, you can have WiFi access at your fingertips for your entire trip to Japan.
You Get What You Pay For
Free is not always “free” when your data is stolen. Don’t run the risk of giving up your personal information to strangers when it costs so little to prevent it from happening. Sakura Mobile offers a variety of Japan WiFi rentals that provide a secure. For more information on the many plans we offer, please visit our WiFi rental page. And if you don’t yet know what type of WiFi rental you need for your trip to Japan, we suggest looking at our comparison of data SIM cards vs. portable WiFi routers to find out which device is best for you.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Ben Franklin