Vacation and cybersecurity: Is your data exposed?
After a long year of work, you might want to lay down a bit, maybe visit an exotic new place, or go lay on a sandy beach and forget all the worries in the world. Well, you’d better take extra care of your data and personal information when you travel, as you might be an easy target without realizing it.
So what are these dangers, and how can you protect yourself from them?
The lurking dangers in foreign lands
It is no surprise that countries worldwide want to keep their national security safe, and it comes as no surprise that they do so by spying on potential risks that could result in security disturbances.
Little is known about the fact that many countries utilize the communication towers near airports or initiate a man-in-the-middle attack on your phone as soon as you land in an airport and open your phone there.
According to espionage expert and writer Kieth Melton, airports often have a mini communication tower in addition to the main communication tower.
These mini-towers intercept your device and download the information on it before sending it to the main communication tower to resume the typical process. Sometimes these mini-towers send your mobile device a virus that acts to track and steal your information whenever you’re online.
Another place you might get your information stolen is your hotel. As a rule of thumb, using any Wi-Fi is considered a security risk as Wi-Fi security has more holes than Swiss cheese, which places you at risk of getting hacked and losing your information unless you have methods to protect yourself.
A third very common way you might lose your information when you’re abroad is when you enter a café and open a Wi-Fi network, which works similarly to how the hotel security breach.
How you can protect yourself
Despite the many dangers lurking around your travel, it is possible to minimize or even avoid leaking your information if you follow the correct protocol of events.
There are two main groups of protective measures you can use to protect yourself. Using them in conjunction is what provides perfect protection.
1. Security tools
The first is security tools. Using premium antiviruses, VPNs, and password managers can be the difference between losing all your information and none at all.
Although it is relatively hard to pick the right cybersecurity products due to the large volume of products in the market, you can check Several.com comprehensive cybersecurity product reviews to help you decide.
Antiviruses will help you remove any possible viruses or malware that might be leaking your information consistently, thereby keeping your device risk-free. On the other hand, VPNs will encrypt your outgoing data, creating a tunnel between you and the recipient, preventing hackers from intercepting any outgoing information.
A password manager is another excellent tool that can store your most important and relevant information in secure encrypted vaults. Many of them even have something called a travel mode to ensure your safety when you’re abroad.
2. Security precautions
Taking a few precautionary measures is also essential; after all, prevention is the best medicine.
The federal communications commission (FCC) recommends travelers going abroad to proactively secure them selves in various stages of their travel, including before traveling, while traveling, when using public Wi-Fi, and when they get back home.
A few tips you might benefit from include:
- Back up your important and sensitive files and delete the current data on your device; that way, your information will remain safe, and at the same time, you won’t be at risk of losing the most critical data you have.
- Use strong passwords to protect from dictionary attacks and brute force attacks.
- Update your antivirus software to the latest version available to ensure the most recent viruses and malware are covered.
- Use privacy screens to prevent others from watching the content of your device.
- Use different passwords and PINs than what you use in your homeland.
- Never use public Wi-Fi to make online purchases.
While traveling abroad can be dangerous and result in losing your digital information, taking the appropriate protective measures can mitigate any potential damage, if not even prevent all damage.
Use the correct cybersecurity tools, take the proper measure, and enjoy your vacation to its maximum potential.
Story by Matt Russell