In this era of digitalization, it is impossible to go on a trip without your digital devices. You will need them in the course of your journey for various transactions. These devices are a store to most of your personal information, which can compromise the security of your privacy if it is lost. That is why protecting your digital life when traveling is a critical part of your trip. Do not let the excitement that comes with traveling make you put your guard down, arm yourself with the following tips to ensure your digital life is protected.
1. Protect your devices
Sometimes the worst happens when you are traveling; you can lose your devices in the course of your trip. Before you start your journey, ensure that no one else can access your devices by using a strong passcode, PIN, or a pattern for your cellphone. If you have passwords stored in your devices, put your devices on travel mode, and filter the passwords that you want to keep in your device. If you have an auto-fill feature for passwords in your devices, ensure it is turned off when you travel. Get rid of the apps that you won’t be needing while away as well as files consisting of sensitive information. Go a notch higher and install tracking apps in your devices to help you track them down in case you lose them or are stolen.
2. Protect online activity with a VPN
Data roaming charges can put a dent in your pocket especially when you are traveling on a budget. That is why you can’t resist using free public Wi-Fi at the airport, coffee shops, or in your hotel. While this practice saves you a few dollars, it poses a higher risk for your data. A public WI-FI is accessible to anyone, which means that identity thieves and hackers can eavesdrop on what you are doing over the internet. Ensure that the data leaving your device is encrypted by using a VPN when connecting to a public Wi-Fi.
What is a VPN, you might ask? A VPN, Virtue Private Network is an app or software that you install on your devices to help keep your data private whenever you use the internet. The application encrypts your activities on the internet and also hides your IP. It gives you the confidence to use the internet without the fear of your data leaking to cybercriminals.
3. Turn WI-FI and Bluetooth off if not needed
Hackers have been known to create hotspots with a name that sounds authentic to lure unsuspecting travelers to their hook. Ensure to always have the Wi-Fi on your phone always turned off to prevent connecting to a malicious hotspot without your knowledge. You might think that the data leaving your device is encrypted, which is true, but it becomes vulnerable if your phone auto connects to the mobile network through such a malicious free Wi-Fi hotspot. Remember to turn off Bluetooth whenever you don’t need it since other people can use it to connect to your phone in public if it is on.
4. Avoid public charging stations
Your mobile phone or tablet will need recharging at some point when you are traveling. However, keep off the temptation of charging your devices in a free charging station for your data’s sake. If you happen to unlock your phone and go online when it is plugged on that USB port, you make your data vulnerable to hackers. They can easily juice-jack your information by just reconfiguring the charging station. Always ensure that your devices are fully charged when you are traveling to avoid running out of battery when on the way. Consider also carrying an extra battery whenever you travel.
5. Keep your Apps updated
Software companies release updates for their apps from time to time. These releases always come with enhanced security fixes for these apps. Ensure that you update the apps in your devices to the latest version, that way you don’t miss out on important notifications on attempts to your data. For instance, Facebook and Gmail track your logins and notify you whenever there is a login from an unfamiliar device.
Digitalised private information becomes more vulnerable whenever one is traveling. However, do not let the threat on your data deter your enthusiasm for seeing new places and learning new cultures. Just stay aware of the avenues that cybercriminals use to access your data and block any loophole that might leak your information to these malicious people.