Whether you’re looking for restaurant recommendations or trying to figure out where your hotel is, free Wi-Fi can be an absolute godsend when you’re travelling.

But this convenience also comes with a degree of risk.

Public Wi-Fi networks are notorious for security flaws that put personal data at risk, if you haven’t taken the necessary precautions. Here are five rules for connecting to Wi-Fi overseas. Follow these rules and you’ll be able to get online safely and securely.

1. Customise your phone’s security setup

We forget that our portable devices are just as vulnerable to malicious software as our computers, so consider purchasing security software for your phone before travelling.

2. Use strong, long passwords

A lot goes into a password, but it pays to make them complicated. Longer, more-complicated passwords that are unique to different accounts are much more difficult to hack and provide another level of protection when using your devices.

3. Make sure the network is legitimate

This is one of the most common ways hackers trick travellers. Before connecting to a network at a hotel of café, double check with the staff or manager the name of the network to make sure you’re not connecting to a dummy, insecure alternative.

4. Consider using a virtual private network (VPN)

Even if the network you’re using is password-protected, there’s still a chance your communication could be intercepted. For a subscription VPNs basically create a network-within-a-network just for you that ensures all traffic is through a private connection.

Most of the time your mobile network will be secure, so if you are after peace of mind and you don’t mind forking out for a little bit extra as you’re travelling, consider investing in a data plan to ensure you have absolute peace of mind when logging on.