When you’re traveling abroad, you may wind up in unfamiliar places which pose increased security risks. You may be targeted by thieves who steal your physical device or grab your data when you go online. Here are five simple tips to protect your data while traveling abroad.
Protect Your Devices
Thieves may steal your laptop or mobile device when you’re distracted. You can lose your phone. If there’s important data on there or items you haven’t backed up somewhere else, you might be out of luck. Consider leaving your expensive devices – with your important data – at home and grabbing a cheap pay-as-you-go phone or laptop to take with you. If you do have to bring your own devices, back up important data and make sure you use strong passwords. You also need to keep a close eye on them.
Beware Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi is not encrypted. That means hackers with just minimum skills may be able to intercept your communications, track your online movements, and see what you are typing in. Cyber criminals love public Wi-Fi because it allows them to sniff out anything that passes between you and the websites you visit. Bad guys can also set up their own Wi-Fi hotspots in public places and give it a common name. You might think you are connecting to the local coffee shop’s Wi-Fi, but it really belongs to some with ill intent. That’s like handing over your keys to a car thief.
Use A VPN
Your best protection when traveling abroad is to utilize a virtual private network (VPN). VPN creates a private tunnel to connect you to a remote server. It scrambles your location and encrypts all of your data. Even if you connect to a public network, nobody will be able to tell you are online. You are virtually invisible. Since the data is encrypted, nobody will know what you are doing online or sending back and forth. Even if they somehow were to intercept it, they wouldn’t be able to decipher it. You will want a VPN with military-grade encryption. It should be at least AES 256-bit encryption.
Streaming While Traveling
If you plan to stream video using a streaming media service, you may be able to get around geographic restrictions if you have the right VPN installed. For example, the very popular BBC iPlayer really only works best while in the UK. If you are traveling outside of the UK, and still want to access the content, you may be able to use a VPN. Since VPNs can be set up to show an IP address in the country you choose, the streaming service can see your online presence as originating in your home country and grant you access. So, setting up a VPN and dedicated Ip address may bypass regional censorship and grant you access to your favorite shows.
Limit Activities To Secure Websites
Look for the “S” at the end of HTTP. The “S” stands for secure, which means the website is encrypted. If there is no “s” at the end, hackers might be able to see what you are doing – especially if you are on a public network. Some browsers will flag non-secure sites with a warning message or showing a broken padlock, but it can be easy to ignore. Consider downloading an add-on, such as HTTPS Everywhere, which makes your browser more secure. It’s free and works with Firefox, Chrome, and Opera browsers.
Protecting Your Data
Following these few simple steps can help keep your data protected when traveling. Stay safe!