The summer travel season is currently in session. Millions of people all around the world have made their plans to travel all around the world to explore. After all, when school is out, who wants to stay in their boring old town?
Sometimes a simple change of scenery is all you need to jumpstart your holiday mood. Whether that means you take an exotic trip across the world or simply move to another city to visit your grandma for three means, is entirely up to you. All you need to do is take charge of your trip and plan everything ahead of time.
The first step you need to take is ensuring your digital safety when you are travelling to a foreign land. Trust us when we say this step is imperative. Several data experts from Duo Security based in Mich recommend that it is important to cover all bases before you travel.
When you are at home or working, you are connected to a secure online network. But when you are travelling, you feel the urge to make use of free public hotspots often offered at hotels, malls and restaurants. Does that mean they are safe? Absolutely not.
Here is the list of tips for you to ensure your cyber safety while you travel.
Avoid Free Wi-Fi
Being away from your own network, it can seem awfully tempting to connect to free Wi-Fi hotspots in hotels, airports or malls. It is recommended that you avoid these urges at all costs, or it’s going to cost you!
There is a reason why people all over the world mostly refrain from using free Wi-Fi. Most free hotspots not secured by passwords are created by cybercriminals to steal your personal data. Those most susceptible to these kinds of cyberattacks are tourists which is why these are mainly found at airports and major tourist sites. Spooked, yet? We know we are.
Many experts recommend to use VPN service while travelling abroad so that even if you connect to free public hotspots, you are safe from cybercrimes. The use of a VPN will scramble and encrypt all the data entering and exiting your device, making it impossible for any hacker to intercept. If you can’t get a VPN, the second safe bet would be to use your mobile provider’s data connection which is much safer than public Wi-Fi.
Keep Your Devices Secure
You should update all of your devices before you go on your journey. Now we know, you might wonder why this is important. New updates are only released when companies find security flaws in the previous ones. The newer updates contain patches to fix the security flaws. If you don’t update your devices, you might be susceptible to online hacking due to the breaches found.
This includes all of your devices, including the antivirus you subscribe to. When you are using your usual browser on your trip, don’t ignore the warnings it gives you against certain websites because chances are, they are not good for you. What about apps, you ask? Those need to be updates as well.
How strong your passwords are also matter. There is a reason why websites tell you when the password you are keeping is too weak, that is because hackers can crack it in a matter of seconds. You need one numeric, one upper case letter and at least 6 alphabetic letters in your passwords whether it is for your email accounts, your laptop or your mobile device. Activating multifactor authentication is also a good way of ensuring your device safety while you are travelling. Apply this to not only your device but also your Gmail to your credit cards.
Pay Through Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay on Your Trip
The last thing you want is to find out that somebody has stolen or taken advantage of your credit card. You might find your way out of fraudulent charges but your card will be blocked until you visit your bank’s branch and issue a new one. This can particularly be a problem when you are abroad and without cash.
We would just like to say that the microchips used in the cards issued in the United States aren’t as secure as we are led to believe since they don’t require a PIN code while being used. If anyone places a skimmer device inside of an ATM you use abroad, they can steal your credit information.
Instead, we suggest you use payment apps such as Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay since they don’t use your actual credit card number. What they do is provide you with a random token which you use to pay for the services you receive. This way, your credit card remains safe.
Safely Booking Your Trip
Safe travels begins with secure online trip booking. According to Kaspersky Lab which is an antivirus software, there is no shortage online of fake websites willing to exploit travelers with flight and hotel bookings. Our tip to you is that if the deal feels too good to be true, chances are, it probably is. You need to make your booking on well-known and trusted travel websites online.
And even then, it is advised that you check the URL thoroughly to see if you are on the right website or not. Often hackers create a similar looking website like Airbnb and name the URL something like free-airbnb-for-you.com instead of Airbnb. It does work on many users who are then scammed out of their credit info.
Additional Tips For When You Travel Abroad
- If you have highly sensitive material on your device, leave it in your home country and travel with a disposable device.
- Airport customs often requests to check your phone. If you don’t want your social media apps checked, we recommend you log out of them prior to getting to the airport.