The spring season is in its full glory. It is the perfect time to travel and go on a much-needed vacation. The weather is pleasant and perfect for unwinding and relaxing.
But, in this digitally-connected era, traveling comes with its own set of challenges. You no longer have access to your home Wi-Fi, high-speed internet, and round-the-clock connectivity.
However, what’s most concerning is the increased risk of cyberattacks. It becomes more important to protect your sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands as you keep exploring new places.
To help you enjoy your vacation with minimal cyber security risks, we have compiled a list of essential safety tips to keep you safe on the internet.
- Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi’s found in public places like hotels, restaurants, and airports, among others. They offer internet access for free. Although they might seem harmless, they come attached with many cyber security risks.
When you use public Wi-Fi, the information is sent over the internet by the device without any encryption. Any individual can easily intercept, read, and track the data that is exchanged between your device and the Wi-Fi.
Thus, they are a preferred medium for carrying out Man-In-The-Middle (MITM) attacks, snooping, malware distribution, and other forms of cyberattacks.
So, avoid using public Wi-Fi at any cost. Instead, use your mobile’s cellular data and use it as a hotspot for accessing the internet on a laptop or tablet.
- Use a Proxy Server
Proxy servers act as an intermediary between your device and the internet. The proxy servers analyze the data being transferred between your device and the internet. It blocks malicious or harmful data and scripts from reaching your device, thereby protecting you from a myriad of cyberattacks.
You can choose a list of free proxies to have a safe browsing experience throughout your travel. You can also opt for residential or datacentre proxies, depending upon your requirements.
The free proxy servers will also help you to mask your identity and change your location while browsing the internet. You can use them to access restricted websites and enjoy geo-restricted content if you are traveling to a different country easily.
- Avoid Using Public PCs
Similar to public Wi-Fi, most places, especially hotels, offer public PCs that are free to use. Likewise, they also come with all the cyber security risks attached.
There is a chance that the computers are infected with malware, viruses, or have keyloggers attached. Entering sensitive information like your usernames, passwords, or credit card details, can increase the risk of them getting stolen substantially.
Thus, avoid using public PCs as much as possible. Use them only when necessary. If you have entered any sensitive information like your login details, make sure to change them using your devices, such as your smartphone, ASAP!
- Update Your Device’s Software
Updating your device’s operating system to the latest version is essential for all users. But, it is more crucial for travelers.
If your device’s software is not updated, cybercriminals can take advantage of loopholes and vulnerabilities to hack into your device and steal sensitive information.
The compelling reason why travelers are more vulnerable to software exploits is that some cybercriminals target specific geographical areas only. An example of this can be seen with the Magniber ransomware. The ransomware was developed to attack computers, specifically in South Korea only.
Thus, before you embark on your journey, make sure the software is updated on every device that you and your family members are carrying.
- Turn off the Auto-Connect Feature
The Wi-Fi auto-connect feature auto-reconnects your device to a previously-connected Wi-Fi when it is in its vicinity. This is a good feature to have and provides you with internet connectivity without any effort from your end. But, we advise you to disable it.
You should always be in control of the network connection you are using, especially when you are traveling and using public Wi-Fi. Otherwise, you won’t have any idea about the information being sent, accessed, and received between your device and the wireless router. This increases the chances of your data being stolen and misused by a cybercriminal.
If you are using an iPhone, the auto-connect feature can be found in Settings – Wi-Fi – Ask to Join Networks. Similarly, on most Android phones, the option can be found in Wi-Fi settings.
- Install Antivirus
You should have an antivirus installed on all your devices. This includes your Android and iOS smartphones as well. An antivirus will help enhance your device’s security and protect it against malware, spyware, viruses, and other security risks. It will act as your last line of defense against attacks.
Installing an antivirus becomes even more crucial when traveling as you will be connecting to public Wi-Fi and different networks more frequently.
Make sure that the antivirus is updated to the latest version and keep automatic updates on even while traveling. This will enhance the degree of protection for your devices.
- Create a Data Backup
No matter how much protection you apply to safeguard your data and devices, there might be occasions when you might lose them. While the monetary loss of a smartphone or a laptop may be high, losing the data in them can turn out to be more damaging.
Thus, always have a data backup for such occasions. Most OEMs offer data backup services. They seamlessly copy your data to their servers, ensuring its safety. You can use iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, or any other service to backup your data.
If you have travel-related data on the devices, such as airplane tickets, train, and hotel reservations, make sure to have a printed copy along with you. If your digital data does get corrupted or stolen, you can still perform all the necessary activities.
You should be extra careful about your online security as any unfortunate event can dampen your travel experience. We hope that these tips will help keep you safe and secure on the internet while you are traveling. As long as you are cognizant and smart regarding your actions, you can minimize the cyber security risks to a great extent.