Traveling used to be a simple matter of securing your physical possessions, but that is no longer the case. Cyber-thieves are also on the rise as the world gets more interconnected.
While packing for a trip, the last thing on your mind is whether or not an airport employee can access your phone or computer. What’s the big deal?” is an understandable response. The truth is, “I have nothing of value to steal,” but unfortunately, that’s not the case. If you look closely enough, your computing devices leave a digital breadcrumb trail that can lead to identity theft.
It’s better to be cautious than sorry when it comes to securing your online accounts and personal information. Keeping your data secure when traveling is as simple as employing the strategies listed above.
Steps to Protect Your Personal Data While Traveling:
The Art of Text-Based Communication
Let’s say a good friend from back home asks you for your Netflix login while you’re on the road. A brief message with the details is all that is required of you. But hold on!
Do you have any other online accounts linked to your email and password? What level of security was provided by the message that you just sent? SMS and many messaging applications aren’t protected, so your account information is now easily accessible to anyone who has access to it.
Using end-to-end encrypted messaging software is the best way to exchange private messages when traveling. Using these, you may rest assured that your communication is safe and unreadable from the moment it leaves your hands until it reaches its intended recipient.
Avoid sending personal text messages. Instead, consider these possibilities
Look through your phone’s messaging apps to see if WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger are already installed. WhatsApp is a good alternative because it uses end-to-end encryption technologies, but there are issues over whether Facebook collects the metadata from your chats through the app’s parent company. You’ll want to avoid using the company’s Messenger service if you’re sending anything private or confidential. To help with this, we’ve added Signal to the mix.
Signal, an end-to-end encrypted messaging service that only collects your phone number and the days you log in, is mentioned in nearly every piece on messaging security. In addition to the fact that Signal’s code is open-source, it may also be reviewed by the public for potential security flaws.
Obviously, Signal isn’t flawless, but it’s a far better alternative for security than using Facebook Messenger or sending unencrypted text messages.
When You’re Traveling with an Old One, Only Use a New Phone
You’ll find a treasure trove of personal information if you go through your phone’s memory. Don’t you want your family’s five-month-old texts or images from your most recent vacations accessed by hackers?
Use only the apps you need on the road if you have an older smartphone that doesn’t have the most up-to-date operating system or security updates. When you return, you’ll have your primary phone.
Keeping Track of A Wide Range of Security Codes and Passwords
When you install a new app, it may ask for access to your phone’s contacts in order to “discover your friends” who are also using the app. This doesn’t seem like a big deal when you stop and think about it.
Who do you have on your contact list? Email addresses, passwords, and even personal information like social security numbers could be tucked away in there. Once you grant the app permission to access your contacts, it can begin collecting and storing all your contact information on its servers immediately. Yes, we have all of the information. Yikes.
Use Password Managers to Keep Track of Your Passwords
Using a password manager allows you to securely store and encrypt the passwords for your online accounts. Password managers may not be perfect, but security experts generally believe that they represent a significant improvement in the security of one’s passwords. Dashlane, LastPass, and 1Password are all excellent options for storing passwords.
Make it cautious to check for current security breaches before utilizing any such service. Priority must be given to safeguarding one’s own safety.
A Password-Protected File Is Essential
At the very least, store your passwords and payment card information in a password-protected, encrypted file on your device.
Windows’ Lock & Hide Folder feature makes this possible. Using Veracrypt, our favorite file encryption program, you can also build a safe vault that looks like any other file.
Getting Access to Email Addresses
The second time I try to enter into my email account, I’ll be greeted with the message, “We need to verify your identity.” It’s great that hackers can’t get into my account anymore, but I still can’t access it 50% of the time.
The Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) method is an effective security measure. When you can’t even access your own accounts when you’re on the road, this can be a problem.
Most people have this issue. In most cases, you’ll be prompted to enter a code by text message in order to log in or authorize financial activities. While roaming is allowed, SMS delivery is significantly less dependable when traveling abroad. There are situations when you can’t even use it in the country you’re visiting.
Don’t get bogged down attempting to access your own accounts while you’re on the other side of the world. Instead, take advantage of the following ways to add two-factor authentication to your accounts and keep them secure:
Before You Depart, Be Sure to Clear Your Cache and Cookies
Make sure you log out and back into all of your accounts on any devices you’ll be taking on your trip before you depart. Logging in again resets the 30-day 2FA verification countdown for Gmail and other service providers.
Use the Google Authenticator App to Protect Your Account
Google Authenticator or Authy can be downloaded. You may use the codes generated by these apps to access your Google, Amazon, Facebook, Dropbox, and a slew of other services. If you set it up ahead of time, you’ll be able to use 2FA codes even if your phone isn’t connected to the internet or has a low battery.
Prepare for Your Trip with A Travel Email Account
Your primary email address has been active for how many years now? Imagining your email full of old writings, online receipts, and embarrassing prom images from your ah-ha moments is a good way to visualize the problem. Is it really necessary to travel with so much information? You’re wrong.
You can instead set up a separate email account for when you’re away from home. You can use this account to access Wi-Fi networks and sign up for discounts when you travel. Individuals, email marketers, and phishers won’t be able to trace your behavior this way. Use a different password for this account than you would for your primary email account.
Using a Wireless Network
Working on the road has a lot of difficulties, not the least of which is the never-ending quest for dependable Wi-Fi connections. “Public Wi-Fi” can be found in airports, cafes, and public spaces, but how can you know if these networks are authentic or set up by someone looking to steal your data?
You should avoid using public Wi-Fi networks, even if they’re password-protected if you need to obtain sensitive information for work or personal use.
When using public Wi-Fi, you may be vulnerable to a man-in-the-middle attack if you access a website (such as your bank’s homepage). Visitors may be redirected to a bogus site that looks just like the real one in this type of hacking effort. Suddenly, the hacker gets access to your bank account’s login data, and you’ll have to cope with the consequences for the duration of your trip (and potentially much longer).
So, what can you do to keep your gadgets safe from prying eyes? Try the following safety measures:
Finally, Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN):
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are probably not new to you if you’re a frequent visitor to this site (VPNs). A virtual private network (VPN) encrypts your internet connection so that hackers cannot access your personal information or conduct online transactions. You’ll need a VPN to keep your data secure when you’re on the road. To save you the trouble of deciding, I recommend giving Tunnelbear and VyprVPN a go first.
Use a VPN to Protect Your Online Activities
It’s dangerous to use unprotected websites. It’s difficult to identify the difference between the two. Take a peek at your browser’s address bar to see if the URL begins with HTTP or HTTPS. A little padlock icon appears next to the HTTPS prefix, indicating that the website is safe to visit. As a result, your data is encrypted and protected as it travels between you and the website.
With the help of a browser plugin like HTTPS Everywhere, you may avoid manually adding the HTTPS prefix to each and every page. However, even if secure SSL connections are becoming more frequent, they cannot be relied upon by every website. This is a helpful safeguard.