Smart Traveler’s Tech Safety Tips: Protecting Your Digital Footprint Abroad
Technology is an important part of travel in our incorporated world.
From booking flights to piloting unfamiliar streets & recording your adventures, our phones and gadgets are essential travel buddies. However, as tech continues to advance, so do the risks related to it, especially when travelling. This article explores essential tech safety tips for smart travellers to protect their digital footprint and confirm a safe and enjoyable journey.
#1 – Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Before travelling, research & choose a reputable VPN service, like ExpressVPN, that suits your needs. A VPN is an essential tool for safeguarding your online activities while travelling. It encrypts your internet connection, making it nearly impossible for hackers to intercept your data. When connected to a VPN, your internet traffic is routed through a secure server, which masks your real IP address and location. This helps defend your search info, like passwords & private data, from probable threats. Using a VPN not only protects your data but also allows you to access geo-restricted content and services while abroad, enhancing your online experience.
#2 – Secure Your Devices
Before you start your journey, make sure to secure your devices. This means keeping your operating system and apps up to date with the latest versions, as these updates often come with important security fixes. Create strong and unique passwords, or use biometric methods like fingerprints or facial recognition to make sure your devices are less likely to be accessed by unauthorized users.
Furthermore, consider turning on full-disk encryption on your devices to protect your data if they get lost/stolen. Many smartphones and laptops have built-in encryption features, which can be easily activated in the settings menu. Also, don’t forget to enable your devices’ remote tracking and wiping capabilities. This way, if they are lost or stolen, you can remotely lock or erase your data to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.
#3 – Beware of Public Wi-Fi
Community Wi-Fi networks are a great target for cyber-criminals. While connecting to free Wi-Fi at airports, cafes, or hotels may be convenient, doing so can expose you to various risks. Hackers often set up fake Wi-Fi hotspots to intercept data from unsuspecting users.
To stay protected, dodge using public Wi-Fi for delicate doings like online banking/shopping. If you must use public Wi-Fi, connect to a VPN to encrypt your data. Additionally, ensure that your device’s Wi-Fi auto-connect feature is turned off to prevent it from connecting to suspicious networks automatically.
#4 – Update Your Antivirus Software
Just as you update your devices, keep your antivirus and anti-malware software up to date. These programs play a crucial role in detecting and removing threats that could compromise your digital security. Regularly run scans on your devices to identify and eliminate any potential threats.
Consider using a reputable mobile security app which can provide real-time protection against mobile-specific threats, such as malware and phishing attacks. Many of these apps offer additional features like app permission monitoring and anti-theft capabilities, which can be invaluable while travelling.
#5 – Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Two-factor authentication (2FA), such as Authy, is a powerful tool for enhancing your online security. It provides an additional layer of protection by requiring you to provide two forms of verification before gaining access to your accounts. Typically, this includes something you know (like a password) and something you have immediate access to (like a one-time code sent to your phone).
Enable 2FA on all your accounts that offer it, including email, social media, and banking services. By using this approach, even if someone manages to acquire your password, they won’t gain access to your accounts unless they have the second authentication factor. Numerous widely-used travel-related services, including airline apps and hotel booking platforms, also provide 2FA features. Therefore, use them to enhance the security of your travel-related accounts.
#6 – Be Cautious with Public Computers
While travelling, you may encounter public computers in internet cafes or business centres at hotels. While these can be convenient for checking email or printing documents, they are inherently less secure than your own devices. Avoid using public computers for sensitive activities or accessing personal accounts.
If you must use a public computer, remember to log out of all accounts and clear your browsing history, cookies, and saved passwords before leaving. Better yet, consider using a secure, portable USB drive with a bootable operating system, which allows you to carry your secure environment with you and avoid using public computers altogether.
As technology continues to play an integral role in travel, smart tourists must prioritize tech safety. By taking proactive measures to secure your devices, protect your data, and stay vigilant while using technology abroad, you can ensure a safe and sound journey. Whether exploring a new city, boarding on an epic quest, or simply relaxing on a beach, these tech safety tips will help you protect your digital footprint to enjoy peace of mind while on the road.