Living in the digital age is very convenient. Most things you need are only a click or a tap away. But the digital age is also full of dangers that people never knew before. Data and privacy threats are two such dangers. Keeping your data and privacy safe is a major concern in the age we live in. Corporations spend billions in software to keep sensitive information away from prying eyes. Some internet plans comes with security software to prevent against spyware, worms, viruses and other malware.
But people who exist on the wrong side of the law will always exist in cyberspace. This means it is up to us to learn to keep our data safe.
Data Safety While Traveling
Data is always under threat, but when you’re traveling, this threat increases significantly. Hacking, theft, and spying become even more serious threats than usual. This means you need to take extra precautions to keep your data and privacy safe when on-the-go. These nine helpful tips can help your digital safety while traveling, whether for business or for pleasure:
- Change Passwords
- Never Share Current Location Information
- Device Theft or Loss Precautions
- Monitor Your Accounts
- Use Secure ATMs Only
- Utilize Hotel Safes
- Disable Wi-Fi When Not in Use
- Use a VPN
- Avoid Public Wi-Fi and Computers
Below follows a brief description of each tip. Read on to discover how they can help you keep your data safe while traveling.
It is usually a good idea to change your passwords frequently. When returning from a trip, be sure to change your previous passwords. If at any point during your travels, someone got a hold of your passwords, they won’t be able to misuse them. For long trips that last more than 4 weeks, consider changing your passwords multiple times on the go.
Never Share Current Location Information
While it may seem hard to resist, broadcasting your current location is actually a serious hazard. This tip does not concern the data you have on you while traveling, but the data you left back home. When you broadcast your location on social media, depending on your privacy settings, undesirable people may see it. If they learn you are out of town, your home may become the target of a burglary or even a cybercrime.
Device Theft or Loss Precautions
You don’t only lose data to hackers and spies. People tend to forget that they are at risk of having a device stolen or losing it while traveling. Luckily there are a few precautions you can take in case that should happen. Have a fingerprint lock on your phone if possible, along with a passcode. Install a phone locator app, that can help you locate your missing device’s current location. Some apps even let you remotely wipe your device, so that your information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
Monitor Your Accounts
We have already accepted the fact that your data and privacy are at greater risk while traveling. So it is a good idea to monitor sensitive accounts like your credit card and bank account. Look for unusual transactions or signs of fraudulent activity. NEVER try to monitor these accounts on a public computer or over a public network. Get fraud alerts set up with your bank BEFORE you leave for your travels.
Use Secure ATMs Only
Your phone, tablet, and laptop aren’t the only things you need to secure while traveling. Your bank information and cards are prime targets for theft, especially while traveling. It pays to exercise caution and only use bank ATMs when traveling. Avoid the public ones at convenience stores or in your hotel lobby. These are not closely supervised or maintain, making them ideal for skimming and theft. ATMs at banks undergo closer inspections and regular maintenance. This makes them much safer.
Utilize Hotel Safes
For the most part, try not to let your devices out of your sight. But when you’re heading down to the hotel pool, you obviously can’t take your laptop with you. In such cases, don’t be tempted to leave it sitting in your hotel room. It only takes one dishonest member on the hotel staff to increase the chances of theft. Use your hotel room safe to keep sensitive data out of the hands of people you have don’t know.
Disable Wi-Fi When Not in Use
Keeping your phone or laptop’s wireless signals open when not in use is very dangerous. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth offer two routes to hackers to try and hack your device. Make it a point to turn off these wireless signals when you aren’t using them.
Use a VPN
VPNs or Virtual Proxy Networks are a great way to add an additional layer of security between you and the big bad internet. Always use a VPN if you have to connect to a public network at the hotel, airport or restaurant. VPNs route your data through servers they own and encrypts it. This makes the job much more difficult for hackers. VPNs are also good for safely getting around content barriers imposed by different countries.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi and Computers
Sometimes, you feel the need to log in to your accounts using a public computer, especially if you left your devices behind. Unfortunately, you have no way of knowing if a public computer doesn’t have malware on it that could expose you. Low-risk activities like browsing are safe enough for a public computer, but never log on to sensitive accounts on one. Public Wi-Fi is another threat to avoid as much as you can. Public Wi-Fi usually has no encryption. This means anyone on the same network can potentially snoop on other devices on the network. You should only use sensitive accounts over cellular data.
Call your customer Service before you leave and make sure you have data roaming in all the places you visit. In places outside your cellular carrier’s locations, avoid using public computers and Wi-Fi as much as you can. Stay safe while traveling, both physically and digitally.
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