By 2015, the number of Wifi hotspots dotting the planet will reach a staggering 5.8 million, according to the Wireless Broadband Alliance. Most of them will be in the usual places where we work, play and travel – cafes, hotels, airports, stores, subways and libraries. But mundane hotspots like that apparently aren’t exciting enough for everybody. A few intrepid Wifi explorers are searching for uncharted wireless territory where they can set up hotspots and instantly connect. And they’re doing it in some pretty far out places.
Beasts of Burden Become Holy Land Hotspots
In northern Israel, a historical park is connecting the past to the present by giving tourists the chance to don biblical robes and ride through the hills of Galilee while they wirelessly connect to Internet. According to the Associated Press, it’s happening thanks to an ancient mode of transportation that’s been transformed into Wifi hotspots. Devices much like feed bags hung around donkeys’ necks are actually Wifi routers that allow visitors to snap pictures, tweet and instantly share their experiences with the folks back home. “You take some pictures, you want to change your picture on Facebook – you can do it,” Menachem Goldberg, the park’s manager, told AP. The wireless donkey tour has only been running for about a month. But it’s already a big hit with Wifi users who are addicted to being online all the time – even in the land of the Bible.
Hotspot in Space About to Take Off
At the other end of the Wifi spectrum, 529 people have signed up to be passengers on Virgin Galactic’s first commercial space tourism flight, scheduled for late 2013. Virgin’s founder, Sir Richard Branson, will be on board along with his two grown children. For only $200,000, the zero gravity flight offers instant silence, instant weightlessness and instant free Wifi for in-flight web browsing. We can’t wait to see the first space tweets.
A Peak Experience: The World’s Highest Hotspot
In case you’re climbing Mount Everest and suddenly get an urge to check your email, Nepal’s Ncell, a subsidiary of the Swedish telephone company TeliaSonera, has made it possible to do just that. In 2010, the world’s highest wireless Internet hotspot was set up at a base camp at 17,000 feet. The coverage of the network reaches up to the peak of Everest, the highest point on earth.
A Hotspot to Connect Us with the Departed
Visitors to the Oak Grove Cemetery in Paducah, Kentucky may be surprised to find a Wifi hotspot tucked between the headstones and the flowers. Lest you think Wifi’s reach has gotten even more awesome, the cemetery hotspot wasn’t set up to communicate with the departed. It’s for visitors who want to do genealogical research on their deceased family members and on famous people who are buried there.
More Way Out Wifi Hotspots
Believe it or not, those aren’t the strangest places where Wifi hotspots have popped up. According to virginmobilelive.com, there’s an out of the way hotspot on Asteroid #6793422 in the Aten Asteroid Belt. If you’re in the neighborhood, you can pick up a signal from the International Space Station. There’s also a hotspot at the Amish Museum in Arcola Illinois. And for those who like to carry multi-tasking to extremes, our favorite hotspot is at an outhouse in Cimarron, New Mexico.
Now, you may be wondering what you’re chances are of getting hacked at an outhouse or on a donkey’s back or even at the foot of Mount Everest. The truth is cybercriminals will exploit any public Wifi connection that’s unsecure – which is the vast majority of them. That’s why you need to use a virtual private network connection like PRIVATE Wifi™ every time you connect to a hotspot. VPNs encrypt the traffic going to and from your laptop. That makes it invisible to hackers, wherever you and your mobile devices are travelling.
For more tips on how to protect yourself against hotspot hacking, check out our other blog posts:
If you’ve been hacked at an exotic hotspot, give us a shout. We’d like to hear your story.