Travelling Tech Troubles: A Guide to Online Safety While Abroad

A Guide to Online Safety While Abroad

When you travel you always ensure that you take the utmost care to protect your money, luggage and other significant personal belongings. In the modern world, it is just as imperative that you place the same importance on your online safety when you travel abroad as well.

VPN is used to protect our personal information and online activity – and they are a smart choice when on the road as well.

VPNs are Virtual Private Networks that work by setting up a tunnel between your computer, phone or other device and the network. In its simplest form, it is software that you download to safeguard your privacy and increase the security of your online connection. In other words, a VPN conceals your IP address, encrypts data transfers, and conceals your location. These functions make you almost untraceable online.

While you are overseas this is handy because it means you can access your social media accounts, email and even streaming accounts as if you were still at home. But more importantly, it encrypts your data and keeps you safe from the various cyber threats that exist overseas including:

WiFi Access in Public Places

It may be tempting to connect to free wireless WiFi when travelling. However, consider carefully before you do. Using public WiFi puts you at risk of hacking. If you are connected to a public network, hackers can easily gain access to your device. The information saved on your device is at risk, which is very alarming. Hackers can easily obtain your private work emails and documents. You will also be more vulnerable to worm attacks and malware spreading.

A VPN software encrypts your traffic, making it impossible for others to intercept your traffic via public WiFi. That way you don’t have to spend enormous amounts of money on roaming mobile charges without sacrificing your security on public wireless WiFi networks.

Be Cautious When Using Shared or Public Computers

Network cafes, computers in hotels and other public computers have long been a way for people to stay in touch while abroad. But they are often vulnerable to a range of hacking devices aimed at stealing your sensitive online data like passwords to your internet banking and email accounts.

Malware known as keyloggers is a common threat. The term keylogger describes hidden software applications or physical devices that capture any information entered by users into a device. You should always be sceptical of the security of a network or device that you are unfamiliar with to prevent keyloggers.

Remember that any information you enter on free computers or networks could be seen by others. When you log into your accounts on shared or public computers, avoid using the remember me feature. Be sure to log out when you are done. Best of all, avoid public computers entirely and use your own device with a VPN connection to secure your important online data.

Be Wary of Fake Charging Stations

Having a device that desperately needs charging is a common problem when travelling overseas. The trouble is, hackers know it. So they have developed a technology called “juice jacking” that makes you think you are plugging your device into a harmless charging station when in fact you are surrendering your personal data or risking having your devices bricked through ransomware. 

False charging stations operate similarly to credit-card skimmers in that they are connected to a port or cable, and users who plug their devices into them expose them to malware attacks that may lock the devices and export sensitive information found on them to waiting thieves.

Since it is nearly impossible to tell whether a USB port has been tampered with, you should never connect to a public USB port. Using a wall outlet with your own charging cable or a portable charger ensures that you don’t get infected with malware.