Whether you are traveling for business or leisure, it is essential to remember that while you should enjoy your stay, safety and security must remain your top priority, and this applies to your personal well-being as well as your data. Cybercriminals live all over the world and some destinations are less secure than others, so it is important to stay informed and proactive against threats.
Before you leave home on your next trip, consider the tips and advice below so you can keep your information to yourself and enjoy your adventure without worry.
Planning before your trip
While cyber security may not always be your number one concern when you are at home, you do not know the dangers that can lurk while you are abroad, and if you are not careful, your data could be stolen in an instant. Even legitimate companies can take your data and use it for marketing purposes, and while most countries try to get the situation under control, some, like the UK, still struggle to keep their companies compliant.
The point is, you never know what to expect, so you should get your gear ready before the trip, so you’re ready for anything. Start by providing your mobile devices with a hard-to-guess passcode or password and a form of two-factor authentication such as biometric scanning of your face or fingerprint, so that only you can access your device and it cannot be used maliciously if it is stolen.
You should also turn off any automatic features that could create a security hole on your device. For example, turn off the automatic Bluetooth connection option, which will open a path to nearby devices that criminals can use to hack your system. You should also turn off location services so that they only reveal your location when you choose to do so. Also check your social media apps and turn on privacy settings so they can’t share your information.
If you’re traveling to a completely new place, you need to be extra careful about how and when you use your devices, especially when you’re abroad. While you’re in restaurants and cafes, it can be very tempting to connect to the free public Wi-Fi network and stream your favorite show or confirm your flight, but you should be very careful. Hackers can try a tactic called a man-in-the-middle attack, where they create a fake Wi-Fi network, and when you connect, you are actually connecting directly to the hacker.
It is important to beware of fake Wi-Fi networks. Oftentimes, a hacker will try to lure you by putting a keyword like “free” on the network name or trying to imitate the name of the organization. To ensure absolute protection, ask the employee for the correct network so you can connect safely.
You should also keep your phone securely in your pocket whenever necessary while in public places. You can proactively secure your phone ahead of time if your device is lost or stolen by enabling the Find My Phone app or setting on your phone. Before you leave on your trip, you should also backup all your important data to a separate server, so in case you lose your phone, you can restore your data.
If you are staying in a hotel or Airbnb, you should enjoy yourself but be wary of using any smart devices that are not yours, including smart speakers and smart TVs. In many cases, these smart devices run from outdated software or are not password protected, leaving them vulnerable, and if you connect your cell phone to the device or sign in to a streaming service on an infected TV, data and identity may be at risk.
You have to be proactive in this case as well, especially if you have fallen victim to malware or a virus. You must have an antivirus installed on your phone so that you can stop the virus in its tracks if you are infected. You should also ask the hotel management or homeowner if their devices are properly secured.
To ensure absolute security, you must install a VPN (Virtual Private Network). The VPN can be installed on any device, and it will hide your location and secure your Wi-Fi connection no matter where you go. In addition, the VPN automatically encrypts your information so that hackers cannot use it even if they are able to take possession of it.
After all, we live in a new world where risks lurk, so cybersecurity is essential. Before you go on your next trip, heed the advice above and have a great adventure.
Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer interested in topics related to how education, business, and technology intersect with personal matters. She enjoys traveling to beautiful places and learning more about their cultural and environmental surroundings. You can contact Ainsley at Twitter And decent.