Is it safe to use public Wi-Fi when traveling to Japan?

Frequent travelers might have numerous questions regarding the safety of public Wi-Fi connections.

They often have no choice but to rely on such a connection in hotels and cafes but aren’t aware of all the risks involved.

If you’re traveling to Japan, you should know that the country is among the safest in the world. Crime rates are low, but travelers should remain alert in popular tourist attractions. Furthermore, ensure that you disable data roaming whenever going abroad.

After all, you want to avoid stacking up a massive bill as a surprise traveling gift. And if you do not buy a local SIM card, your primary internet source will likely be free Wi-Fi.

However, public Wi-Fi is less safe than you might expect, even at your hotel. With that in mind, we’ll discuss the risk of using public internet connection in the country and the things you can do to protect your privacy and data.

Risks of using a public Wi-Fi connection

Let’s look at some of the safety risks of connecting to the internet using public Wi-Fi.

Data breach

A public internet connection is an attractive entry point for hackers to access your private data, such as your social media accounts, investment sites, bank apps, email login credentials, etc.

Hackers can tap into your information via public Wi-Fi and get their hands on your tax details, personal loans, credit cards – you name it. It is all possible if the network is not adequately protected. For instance, a secure network should use modern encryption protocols and strong passwords. However, free public Wi-Fi usually lacks such protections, making such connections unsafe.

Malware infections

Malware infections are common cyber-attacks in the cybercriminal space. Hackers launch malicious software programs and apps that target users’ mobile and desktop devices and damage the files they contain.

Once the infection takes hold, a cybercriminal can infiltrate the infected device and access sensitive data to steal and sell it. Thus, do not forget to enable antivirus software for devices that you plan to use when abroad. It should always be active, whether you are at home or traveling.

Most antivirus programs have real-time antimalware protection against such infections. In addition, avoid opening suspicious and unknown attachments and links, as they might be malicious.

How to stay safe using public Wi-Fi

You should know that free Wi-Fi is never safe. However, you can take some steps to protect your device and data.

Wi-Fi verification

You can ascertain whether a public Wi-Fi connection is safe or not by verifying the network. Look for anything suspicious about a network, such as a spelling error.

Make sure you disable sharing options by changing the configuration. You can do this by changing the settings in the control panel.

Turn on your firewall (PC and laptop)

Desktop devices and laptops usually have the option to enable the firewall. A firewall is the first line of defense against malicious attacks, infections, etc. Always check if your firewall is on before connecting to public Wi-Fi.

Get a Virtual Private Network

You can use any public Wi-Fi without the fear of losing data to malicious individuals. A Virtual Private Network is a tool that lets you reroute traffic through a secure server and encrypt all data within this tunnel. In other words, a VPN download delivers an application that makes your internet activities more secure and less likely to be intercepted.

Tap into mobile data

Mobile devices allow you to connect to the internet using cellular data. That’s an excellent way to avoid shady network safety that follows most free Wi-Fi connections.

However, before you tap into mobile data, pay attention to roaming network costs in Japan to avoid paying hefty fees to your provider. Most countries offer add-on international data packages for such situations.

We also recommend using password protection when connecting to free Wi-Fi to limit the number of users on the network, improve the speed of connection, and ensure safety.

Take measures to secure your accounts

The best ways to ensure your accounts are safe and secure is to use two-factor authentication (2FA) and strong passwords.

2FA installs another layer of protection against hack attacks and keeps your account safe even after a cyber threat tries to compromise it.

Aside from hacking your password, cybercriminals would also need to breach your authenticator app to gain access to your account.

Use a different password for every account

Avoid using the same password for logging into your online accounts. That’s a common mistake many internet users make when traveling.

If a cybercriminal breaches your password, they will gain access to all your accounts. We also recommend logging out when you’ve finished using your accounts.

Avoid accessing financial details

Don’t use public Wi-Fi to access your financial data unless you absolutely must. No matter how safe it may seem, a free Wi-Fi network is never secure.


Even though Japan invests a lot of effort in public safety, the country doesn’t control the safety of public Wi-Fi networks. Since there are too many security risks involved, you should take precautions to secure your data and online accounts.

Install a VPN, enable antimalware protection, avoid opening unknown links and attachments, use a reputable antivirus program, and try not to access your sensitive data when connected to public Wi-Fi networks worldwide. You can also ensure additional protection by renting a portable router to ensure safe Wi-Fi access.

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