In a constantly evolving digital world, thinking of cyber security while you travel is now more important than ever.
Posted On July 20, 2017 Posted By Andy Buerckner
These days we do everything online. We check our bank accounts and emails, stay up to date with family and friends around the world and pay for things at the touch of a button.
When travelling, it is essential to take care and protect yourself as much online as offline. In order for you to travel stress free and tech savvy, we've gathered some handy tips for you to take on board the next time you go away.
Travelling can be unpredictable; things can get lost, broken or stolen. To avoid the heartache of losing family photos, important files or documents, always make sure you back up everything prior to travelling. We also recommend creating digital and physical copies of important travel documents just in case.
Ensure that you don't use the same password for all of your accounts. In the event of a security breach to one of your accounts, all others are also vulnerable if the same password has been used. Complicated and unique passwords with plenty of special characters are always best.
Ensure all smart mobile devices, laptops and tablets are up to date with all the latest operating systems. This will ensure that any bug fixes and patches have been implemented.
If you don’t already have a passcode in place on your devices, we recommend adding one prior to your travels to add an extra layer of security. Prying hands can easily access sensitive data if they manage get hold of devices without passcodes.
Disable your devices from connecting automatically to Wi-Fi / Bluetooth networks and instead change your settings to ensure that you must manually connect to Wi-Fi /Bluetooth yourself. Taking these steps will ensure that you will not automatically connect to malicious networks.
Many banks ask for two step verification to access your account when you are overseas. This often involves sending a secret code to your mobile device. Ensure that this mobile number will be active while you're away or else you will be locked out of your account. You don't want to get to your destination and be unable to access your funds.
TIP: Prior to leaving, always tell your bank that you're planning on travelling so that they don't flag your activity as suspicious and lock you out.
In the unfortunate event of someone getting through to your device home screen, ensure passwords aren't saved on your internet browsers or your accounts may be vulnerable. Password manager programs / apps come in handy as they often use two step authentication.
Research if there are any laptop / smart device bans on your route / airline prior to travelling. This is especially important if travelling to the UK and the US. It is also important to research intellectual property and digital laws in the country / countries you'll be visiting. Data that is legal in your country may not be in another. An example could be a downloaded song, e-book or film. Research what information you are compelled and legally obligated to hand over to immigration. Laws are ever changing so it is always best to confirm this information with your travel agent / airline / embassy of the country you will visit beforehand.
We can't stress how important this is. We know how excited you are to impress your family and friends that you're going away but each boarding pass has a unique code that malicious individuals could use to obtain your personal information.
It's recommended you use your Mobile Internet over free Wi-Fi for any high privacy tasks. Free Wi-Fi / Unencrypted networks (especially those without passwords) are extremely vulnerable to hackers. If for any reason you need to use a public internet connection / device, take care to avoid entering sensitive data. This may include: passwords, banking details and other transactions that may need your credit/debit card information. If you forget to log out of a public device or if a Wi-Fi network isn't secure, your personal information could be at risk.
TIP: Use websites that use https:// over https:// for more secure and encrypted internet connections.
Try not to charge your phone/laptop/tablet on any device that isn't yours, such as a hotel docking station or a public computer as they could contain malware. Always use your personal computer or your wall charger to charge your devices.
It may sound like common sense but never leave your valuables unattended. Physically protecting your devices is just as important as digital protection. If not in use, ensure your devices are locked up somewhere safe and not lying around, even in your accommodation.
Minimise 'checking in' and sharing your exact location online. It may be exciting to tell your 500+ friends / followers that you're overseas but this is also a great way for people to know you're not around thus putting your home at risk. If you do want to share your location perhaps message a small group of family or friends. Or utilise the #latergram hashtag and annoy everyone by posting your photos at later date / time. Your posts don't always have to be instant.