So, it’s finally time for you to take that trip that you’ve been waiting for. Now is your chance to blow off some steam and have a great time. Have fun! You most certainly deserve it. While you are having fun, however, make sure you protect your data while traveling. You will probably be traveling with a smartphone, laptop or both. Although you will be out and about and having fun you should ensure the safety of your devices and data just like you would do if you were at home. Here are some tips to bear in mind while traveling.
Keep all of your electronic devices by your side
This probably seems like a no-brainer, but please take this into consideration! When we are on vacation abroad and having a good time, there is the temptation to take security for granted. However, you should be careful with your devices and keep them near to you at all times. Your precious data is contained on them after all. A perfect example of even “tech-savvy” travelers not considering their privacy enough is with vloggers. Travel vloggers will almost always be using a Wi-Fi enabled vlogging camera — but won’t consider how “open” their camera’s WiFi may be to hackers getting in and having access to all photos/video/data on the camera. Be as alert with your devices as you would be when at home.
Never give out important information to strangers
It may seem weird that we’re bringing this up but please do not do this. No matter the reason, this is never a good idea. If somebody tries to persuade you to share this information, be cautious and just don’t do it.
Password protect everything
Setting passwords is a simple and effective way for protecting your devices and discouraging theft. This is something you should consider doing even when at home. If the worst does come to pass and your device is stolen, having a password can protect sensitive data from being stolen.
Setup device monitoring
On Android devices you can use Android Device Manager to locate, ring, or wipe your device from the web. You can download the app from the Play Store but it is a feature that is included in Android and can also be accessed from the Settings app.
On iOS devices you can do the same thing with such tools as “Find My iPhone”.
Similar functionality can be obtained on a laptop with Prey. If you misplace your device or if it is stolen, such software will definitely come in handy.
Be careful on social media
Posting your location on social media is risky in general. This is especially the case if your social media profile’s privacy settings are such that they can be viewed by strangers. Observant criminals can use this information against you.
By sifting through your posts, they can deduce your home location and monitor and see when you make a post away from home and use the opportunity to steal from your home.
Unfortunately, this applies to when you are on vacation as well. Posting vacation pics or locations while away basically gives these persons the green light to take advantage of you and should be avoided.
You should also avoid posting pictures of boarding passes online. Although you are probably excited about your trip and may want to let everyone know, please don’t!
A boarding pass’ booking number can be used to access your flight information on an airline’s website. By posting a picture of your boarding pass online, you are exposing yourself unnecessarily. A malicious individual could take this information and log into an airline’s portal and access your flight information. By doing this they can alter your travel plans and even gain access to some of your financial information.
Even if you mask the other information and only the barcode of your boarding pass is visible, a skilled individual could use available tools to decode it and gain the same access as if you had posted the full boarding pass with the booking number.
Use a secure private network(VPN)
While abroad and accessing the internet there is a good chance that you will be accessing the internet via unfamiliar and possibly unsecured networks. To protect your data in this environment, the use of a VPN is recommended.
With a VPN, you mask your identity and internet traffic, ultimately protecting your precious data from the prying eyes of malicious individuals.
VPNs also allow access to geo-restricted content. You may be traveling to an area where certain online content or websites are not available. By using a VPN, you can access the internet using an IP address from a location which is different to where you actually are. With this, you can even access content from providers such as the BBC outside of the countries where access is provided.
Have fun on your trip guys, but remember to take precautions to protect your data.