Summer is by definition the season when most of us take well-deserved vacations. We become tourists in our own countries or go abroad, to unplug from our busy daily lives and recharge our batteries for the challenges coming up ahead.
Above everything else, this out-of-office time is meant for relaxation. However, this does not mean that we have to completely become oblivious to the online safety dangers which could appear anytime, anyplace.
Even if you’re travelling for business purposes, take this travel advice into consideration on your next trip. Always make sure that the precious private information stored on any of your devices stays between you and those devices, with nobody else prying into it!
- The perils of public WiFis
When we’re abroad, finding a free public WiFi network is a dream come true. But however happy we are to update our loved ones about our vacation or to finally send that important business e-mail, we must be aware that a public WiFi comes with many risks.
Public WiFis are, first of all, very easy to hack into. Our security expert recently demonstrated that an experienced hacker can break into a hotel’s WiFi network in 1 minute. Scary? You haven’t heard the whole the story yet!
This means that, through an unsecured public WiFi, a hacker can steal your credit card info in the snap of a finger and start making online payments on your behalf. Furthermore, you’re basically handing them personal information, such as passwords to your work e-mail account, on a silver platter.
The solution? Well, you could connect using your mobile data and suffer the extra costs or use a VPN instead. CyberGhost has an app suited to any device you may be using and comes with some free features, as well.
- The offline effects of online choices
When we’re on vacation, we often feel the need to share the excitement with everyone. But we have to be careful with the details we disclose both before and during our time away.
Telling others when and where you’re leaving is like basically rolling out a red carpet to welcome thieves into your home.
It doesn’t matter if you’re letting someone know face-to-face or on social media, the result can be the same one, although on social media, the information can reach a lore more people.
Therefore, our travel advice is to stay as discreet as possible concerning your vacation.
You may also want to think twice about posting that photo in your bathing suit or surrounded by numerous bottles of alcohol. Nothing is really private on social media, regardless of how thorough you were when you made your privacy settings.
Next thing you know, your manager, business partner or potential employer could know a lot more about you than you’d wish.
- Don’t let bad things come in pairs
It may seem like a total nightmare to lose our phone or any other kind of portable devices, but chances are that at some point in our lifetime, we just might, especially if we are easily distraught (as it happens on vacation). In 2013, for instance, 3.1 million thefts were reported, in the US alone!
So what is there to do in such cases?
It’s important that if something like this does occur, we don’t lose our personal data as well.
First of all, make sure to use a password on each and every device. On your phone, for instance, it’s important to have a screen lock method that is not very easy to find out.
If you are using a PIN for instance, make it better than 1111, 1234 or your birth year. If you prefer a pattern, don’t allow others to guess it just by following the screen traces left by your fingerprints. Make it a lot more complicated than that.
It may take longer to type in a more complicated password, but it will be a lot more difficult for someone to decipher it as well.
Second of all, enable your device to auto-lock in the shortest time possible. Like this, nobody has will have access to your personal data when you’re not nearby.
Third of all, if possible, set your phone to automatically reset to factory settings after 10 failed password attempts. We hope that it won’t be you typing the wrong password for 10 times, because you made it too difficult to remember, though!
Also, consider tracking or “find me” apps for your phone. They will increase your chances of finding your lost device.
- The ease of online payments comes with extra costs
Buying a ticket for a museum or booking that sightseeing tour is a lot more convenient than queuing up with a myriad of tourists.
However, it needs to be done cautiously. We’ve already mentioned the dangers of using an unsecured public WiFi connection when making an online / mobile payment.
That is why you need to make sure to only access “https” URLs when making online transactions. You can also try to only use secure payment methods, such as Bitcoins (if accepted) or Secure Pay.
Another way to protect your online transactions is through the encryption technology used by CyberGhost, the truly complete VPN solution.
- The reassuring daily check
Since it’s such a sensitive issue during traveling, checking your bank account on a daily basis could be a great idea.
As a tourist, you could be targeted to all sorts of fraud, not necessarily online, so our travel advice is better to be safe than sorry.
- The importance of logging out
If you really have to check your e-mail and are not pleased with the mobile devices you have at hand, a public computer in the hotel lobby or anywhere else is a solution.
However, make sure to log out before leaving. Simply closing the browser window or the app is not enough. The next person using that device will have access to all your private information. And you surely wouldn’t want anyone posting on your social media channels or sending business mails on your behalf.
- Take the Internet of Things into account
When we think of online privacy, we only think of smartphones, tablets and laptops. There are other objects which send and receive data, as well.
Take your WiFi-equipped camera, for instance. It has the capacity to automatically upload pictures to your online account.
One day, you’ll get bored of that camera or a friend will get bored and offer you theirs. Or you’ll buy a second-hand camera from someone. All your photos will be sent to the account of the camera’s original owner, unless he/she takes caution.
Thus, our travel advice for online safety would be to make sure to password-protect everything. Also, don’t be so quick into selecting that convenient, but dangerous “automatically upload on WiFi” setting.