Maintaining your cybersecurity while traveling is an important issue. And it’s no wonder that travelers are the easiest targets of the fraudsters. Unlike your home environment, you barely ever get a properly secured network to connect to the internet while abroad. A research conducted by The Harris Poll and the AICPA suggests that nearly 60% of the Americans, either directly or indirectly, have been defrauded by the cybercriminals. The main issue is not the technology – it’s our mentality. We take our privacy and security of our personal data way too lightly.
Many travelers out there would love to get some international travel security tips as they need to make occasional trips. So, here are some cybersecurity travel tips compiled specifically for travelers. We believe these travel safety tips are going to come in handy for frequent travelers. Make sure that you have ticked all the boxes from this travel abroad checklist.
Love your data? Then you better take a backup of all your devices. This can be done in two ways. You can copy the data to a machine that is going to house all the data of your devices manually which can be both tiring and overwhelming if the number of devices is in dozens. But on the positive side, this method is very robust and costs you no additional money. It is recommended if you have a computer with adequate memory (say 2-5 TB). The second solution is to take advantage of the cloud storage services like Google Drive or Dropbox.
The advantage of using cloud backup is that they tend to be much less bothersome compared to the previous solution. But unlike the previous scenario, if the number of devices is very high and the amount of data to be backed up is huge, you might have to spend a dime or two to buy additional space. Frankly speaking, the cost of using a cloud service is pretty affordable if you need additional storage space.
The simplest, yet most obvious, thing that you can do in order to increase the physical security of your device is to lock them down. No, we are NOT talking about shackling up your laptop with a chain, although that can be an option as well…;) Simply, use a pattern, number or fingerprint lock. Among the three alternatives, the last one is the hardest to overcome by the over-enthusiastic intruders.
Beware of the booby traps called public Wi-Fi. It is very hard to come across a secure internet connection while traveling. These open networks are notoriously ill-famed across the globe for stealing the personal credentials of unwary users and spying on people.
By all means, try to avoid these open networks by all means. If you must, try limiting yourself to only simple Google searches. You should never, and we mean NEVER, ever use these unencrypted networks to access portals such as Facebook, Twitter or any financial website that need your personal info.
Social networking sites, as well as micro-blogging sites, have now become an integral part of our everyday life. One thing that many travelers unknowingly do is sharing excessive information about their whereabouts while traveling. This information can be used by criminals to use for their advantage.
Be sure to keep all your software including the operating system and all the applications in your devices up to date. We can’t stress enough the importance of always keeping your applications, and especially the operating system, up to date. Many people consider updating and installing security patches as a bothersome task – and to be honest, it IS.
But remember, more often than not, those updates are aimed at solving known security issues or loopholes. One example would really drive this point home: about 20% of all the vulnerabilities discovered in the application layer were labeled either high or critical and it takes around 60+ days to close a discovered vulnerability.
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Regularly changing the passwords of your accounts make them less prone to be hijacked by hackers. Be sure to change all your present passwords before you depart on your journey. There are certain thumb rules while changing the passwords. First, make sure that the passwords are strong enough to thwart away most of the attackers, if not all. Be sure to include alphabets, numbers as well as special characters wherever possible.
Second, the password should preferably not contain any familiar substrings such as (000000 or 123456) that makes the task of the hacker way easier. Third, make changing the passwords periodically a habit if it’s not already. It’s recommended that you change the passwords of your account biweekly (or, once a month at the very least).
The internet is filled with fraudsters. So you better think twice before you click anything, and even more so if you’re in another country. The cybersecurity laws are NOT the same across the globe. Certain countries are much stricter whereas some countries are lenient. You need to keep all these legal issues in mind while traveling with a laptop internationally.
Be sure to not click any unknown, lucrative add banner featuring some movie star or seductive actress. More often than not, these click-baits are simple, harmless advertisements. But in the worst-case scenario, clicking them can make you a victim of Phishing attacks.
Also, while abroad try accessing only the secured websites (URLs starting with https, and not HTTP) for all your shopping and financial needs. Additional notes: if you have the option of using your phone’s network connection, always prefer it over some free Wi-Fi.
Using a good, well-known antivirus software can lower the risk of getting infected. These days, an antivirus software package comes equipped with dozens of handy tools that a single standalone software cannot provide. There are plenty of vendors selling different antivirus packages. Whichever fits your bill, be sure to keep it up to date all the time as we face newer kinds of malware every day.
A virtual private network, aka a VPN, is an essential tool for ANY traveler. There will be times when you NEED to use your e-wallet. But wait, your phone is dead and you’re using a public network to do the transaction. In order to get secure internet access while traveling using a VPN is a must.
It, simply put, encodes all the data by encrypting and then sending them to their destination via the VPN provider’s server. So even if a hacker is somehow able to intercept the data, it’s of no use to him as it’s encrypted. Certain encrypted laptop travel restrictions apply to you though if you decide to use a VPN such as reduced battery life.
In this article, you saw how to keep your laptop safe while traveling. There are many uses of a computer in travel. As a globetrotter, you can hardly rely on your phone’s network all the time for browsing the internet. More often than not, you would be found using your hotel’s or cafeteria’s free Wi-Fi. And that’s not going be a serious issue provided that you keep in mind the points listed above. Good luck and happy globetrotting!