When you travel abroad, the thrill is real, but the last thing you want is your data being stolen. To ensure online safety during your international adventure, exercise caution in sharing personal information on social media, steer clear of public WiFi, and take note of other precautionary measures. Continue reading to discover effective ways of safeguarding yourself online before and during your next exciting trip.
#1. Choose an ATM with Care
Tourists face a significant digital threat from card skimming, making it the primary concern. According to the FBI, this criminal activity incurs over USD 1 billion annually in the US alone. Criminals employ skimming devices on ATMs to capture card data, enabling fraudulent charges. Typically, ATMs with subpar security protocols become the prime targets.
Being cautious about the ATMs I use while traveling has been my practice for the past 15 years. This practice stems from my personal experience of falling victim to card-skimming fraudsters who tampered with an ATM in Thailand, resulting in a substantial loss of funds.
Fortunately, my bank thoroughly investigated the incident and fully refunded me. However, there is no guarantee of such luck, so it is crucial to protect oneself against ATM scammers.
#2. Be Careful with Public Wi-Fi
Using public WiFi exposes you to numerous risks to your online security and data. In particular, the entire Wi-Fi history will be available to network owners.
One of the most common threats associated with public WiFi is the man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack. During this attack, an attacker exploits a public WiFi connection to gain unauthorized access to your browsers or apps, ultimately compromising your data.
It’s advisable to refrain from using public WiFi, even when you’re not traveling. If you still want to use such networks and maintain safe traveling, use VeePN – one of the advanced VPN services. It encrypts and redirects your data, thereby protecting against most vulnerabilities.
It is quite common for travelers to update their social networking sites while exploring new cities or countries. However, excessive sharing of such information poses a security risk back home.
By revealing your exact locations, you inadvertently provide an opportunity for criminals to ascertain that you are away from your hotel room or residence. This makes your personal belongings susceptible to physical intrusion.
To mitigate these threats to your personal property, it is advisable to minimize the information you share online regarding your specific whereabouts.
#4. Present Your Passport with Caution
Money changers in airports often request to make a copy of your passport, but it’s important to consider the security of the environment before complying. Your passport contains personal information that could be exploited against you. So, why would you willingly hand that information over to a stranger working at a random money-changing kiosk?
I prefer using smaller businesses, which often offer better exchange rates compared to banks. However, I always refuse to provide my passport, and usually, they process my exchange without any issues.
#5. Update Your Passwords
When traveling, it’s important to update all your frequently used passwords. Additionally, if you need to set a PIN for a hotel room safe or security box, opt for a unique combination rather than using a commonly used one.
Make sure to avoid simple numerical sequences when creating passwords. Take the necessary time to craft a password that effectively safeguards your personal belongings from criminals. After returning home, you can revert to your original passwords.
#6. Update and Prepare Your Devices
One of the best ways to protect yourself is to ensure that your phone, computer, and tablet are ready to travel. Begin by checking for and installing all available software updates, and consider enabling auto-update to avoid manual updates in the future. These updates frequently contain critical security patches that can shield your devices from recently discovered threats.
It’s crucial to perform these actions from the comfort of your home. Downloading updates while on a flight is not recommended. Next, review your settings and disable auto-connecting to Wi-Fi to prevent accidental connection to suspicious networks. Or at least install VPN extension Chrome free and use only this browser while traveling. This way, travel data privacy will be under control.
#7. Use Two-factor Authentication
Most social media sites, banking apps, and streaming services offer the option to enable two-factor authentication. I can’t stress enough how important it is! Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a simple yet effective security measure. When you activate it, you’ll need to enter a code in addition to your usual login details.
This code will be sent to you via SMS when you attempt to log in. This means that even if hackers have your username and password, they won’t be able to gain access to your accounts because they won’t have your phone or the correct access code.
The Bottom Line
When you travel, make sure it’s a stress-free escape from your daily life. However, it’s crucial to be aware of the risks associated with online safety.
By necessary precautions before and during your trip, you can ensure a secure travel experience without any concerns about your online security. You can easily implement cybersecurity solutions, just like booking your flight.