Believe it or not, I used to do network security for a living at IBM back before I turned vagabum.....
SSL is an encryption that is supposed to protect you from people "sniffing" the air for wireless network packets and then analyzing them to get your password. I can say first hand that
its damn hard and requires perfect timing / multiple attempts to do. Its highly unlikely that someone would target you so specifically unless you're really a spy and not telling us.
Sounds like the vulnerability is with the way that GMAIL handles the logins because it tries SSL, then goes to non-SSL and they grab the authentication cookie. That means online banking should be fine.
If you're still worried about it, you can protect your Gmail account by making sure you hit "logout" and deleting the cookies on the browser. If you use Firefox (www.getfirefox.com
) which is WAY more secure than Internet Exploder, you can just push ctrl+shift+del to delete them every time.
Are you traveling with your own laptop? I didn't the first year and was fine using internet cafes but I did see 2 different instances where the icon to start the browser had been changed to start a keylogger script first. It made me more conscious....the kids that work in these cafes could grab traveler's passwords all day long. I just made it a point to change my passwords every few weeks and when I got home, just in case they wanted to play.